Creating Signs & Raising Visual Awareness

Part of the fun of taking part in a charity run is raising money and, perhaps most importantly, raising awareness for the cause that you’ve chosen to back. You’re not obliged to train for the run, as well as raise awareness for a charity, but if you manage to do both then you’ll have gotten yourself in shape whilst also doing a good deed – and you can’t say fairer than that!

Get creative with your awareness ideas and bring your A-game with these print-based ideas:

Put Up A Vinyl Decal Sign

You’d be surprised with how much you can get done with a small budget these days. Take to Microsoft Paint, or ask a skilled friend to create an eye catching design for you and then get it printed. There are plenty of online services that specialise in creating vinyl decals, but you might find that if you talk to a business in person and explain your motive they could cut you a better deal, especially if you’re going to be printing more than a couple. Once your decal is printed you can slap it on a white van, a window, or any big surface and let your designs to the rest of the work.

Print Some Personalised T-Shirts

Everybody loves a personalised T-shirt and with dozens of companies competing online, you shouldn’t struggle to find one to print a snazzy tee featuring your mug and chosen charity. Pop a link on there advertising your GoFundMe or JustGiving page and you’ll be able to raise money for your cause whilst you’re at it.

Create A Pop Up Shop

Selling something can be a great way to attract attention for your charity, whether it’s some cleverly crafted goodies or a batch of freshly baked cup cakes. Whether you’re selling your wares at work, school or at your local community centre, you’ll be able to put a smile on someone’s face whilst raising awareness for your charity. Make sure that you’ve got enough stock to sell, but be careful not to overspend, as you may end up sinking a lot of your own money into the endeavour in the process!

Buy Up An Empty Shop Window

There are empty shop windows all around the country and whilst this might be a reason to start questioning the lifespan of our dwindling economy, it’s also a golden opportunity for fundraisers to raise awareness for their chosen charities. Many empty shop windows can be rented out for a cheap price, so entrepreneurial spirits (or good-hearted samaritans) can show off their wares. Simply contact the person in charge of the space and then think up a creative display that will attract the attention of passers by!

Talk To A Local Business About Sponsorship

Strengthen your ties with the local community and barter yourself a sponsorship with a business who can support you financially, and also give your chosen charity a much needed boost in awareness. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are always eager to jump on board a charitable cause, especially when it means that their name will be associated with it.

Spreading The Word: Where To Shout About Your Run

But don’t forget that you need to successfully raise some money for your charity of choice before you even think of about hitting the Start line.

The charity that you choose to raise funds for might be a large or it might be small, but should you wish to raise plenty of cash you’ll need to raise awareness for your efforts by telling people all about your goal!

Raising awareness can be as simple as picking up your phone, or sending out some letters, just don’t leave it to the last minute because you may find that you don’t hit your target. These tips have been designed to help runners make the most of the time they have and raise more money for their chosen charity:

Tell your class or work mates!

Your school, college, university or work place is a great starting point for your fund raising. Although your colleagues might think the know you, they might be surprised to find out that you’re doing something like this, so why not tell them? Marketing on campus or at work is as simple as setting up a cake stall, or making an announcement via email to let everyone know about your race and give them a chance to sponsor you. If you don’t try then how will you know?

Get on the phone to your family

Blood runs thicker than water – so if your friends at work or college aren’t being forthcoming then get the address book out and give your family a call. If you’re feeling particularly generous then you could always opt to ask them to donate to your cause in lieu of sending you a Birthday card that year. You can either ask for some cash, or set up a Just Giving page so that they can send you money online.

Look up events in your local community hall

Your local community hall or meeting space is a great venue to either set up a fund-raising event or tag onto an already existing event. There might be a bake sale that you can host a table at, a craft affair that you could organise a tombola for, or a coffee morning that you could donate a cake to. If you want to raise lots of money then you need to get out and meet as many people as possible, making extra effort will almost always result in more sponsorship


Fund raising is always tricky, especially when there are so many people trying to raise money throughout the year. Try not to feel too pressured to raise a fortune, the important bit is taking part!

A Guide To Social Media for Fundraising & Boosting Awareness

Need to give your fundraising efforts a boost?

Empower your self-promotion efforts with these social media tips and tricks.

Although there are plenty of voices decrying our current ‘addiction’ to social media, it nevertheless provides running heroes with a wide set of tools to be able to promote their runs and raise some much needed money for charity whilst they’re at it. The landscape of the internet has changed significantly in the last 10 years or so, with the addition of social media perhaps causing the most disruption in our everyday lives.

There are so many different channels that you can use to shout about your run that you’d be a fool not to use at least one of these networks:

Strava

This running app with social features should be the first thing that you download on your phone when starting your training. Not only is it a great tool for tracking your progress it also offers great integration with Facebook so that you can easily keep your friends and family up to date with your training and prove that you’re on track to complete your run. You’ll also benefit from being a part of a friendly running community that should go some way to getting you out training more frequently.

Twitter

Although some might dismiss Twitter as a social media platform on its dying legs, it’s nonetheless very popular still and serves for a great feed to keep your followers updated on training runs, fund raising events and anything else pertaining to your run preparation. Keep your tweets short, make sure to include imagery and link it up with your Instagram, Strava and YouTube to make managing your marketing for social media accounts that much easier.

Facebook

The Daddy of all social media networks, Facebook has one of the largest user bases in the world and therefore should be instrumental in your fund raising efforts. Use your Facebook account to promote fund raising events and also re-post content from your Instagram, Strava and YouTube profiles. Not seeing the engagement you’d like? Try engaging with other people more, the more you put in the more you’ll get out!

YouTube or SnapChat

Video should be a key part of your self-promotion, your friends and family are more likely to watch a video with you in than read a long post and it will go a long way to proving your commitment to those who are unsure of whether or not to donate to your charity or not. Depending on your time restraints you could either shoot a quick 10 or 30 second video for instant sharing on SnapChat, or you could film something a little longer and edit it in ‘vlog’ style for YouTube.

Instagram

This picture-based sharing platform has been on the rise for a number of years and has proved to be particularly popular amongst younger users who are a little weary of Facebook. The key to engaging followers is by making your images interesting; find fun ways of sharing your running progress, take photos of where you’re running, what you’re eating and how much money you’ve raised. By keeping a consistent stream of engaging photos uploaded you’re more likely to win over new donations.

Who’s Your Favourite Hero?

There are many different kinds of hero in this world, some heroes can be seen fighting fires, some are fighting cancer.

We’re firm in the belief here that you don’t need to be a fire-fighter or a police officer to be a hero. Heroes walk amongst us on a daily basis, they can be old or young, and they can be from all walks of life. Part of the brilliant things about heroes is that they’re not usually the type to blow their own horns, in fact you might know a person their whole life and be blissfully unaware that they’re one of the most heroic people you’ve ever met – that’s how modest they can be sometimes!

We thought we’d ask our writers about the heroes in their lives and how they’ve inspired us to run further and faster for all kinds of charitable reasons:

Paul’s Heroic Wife

“There’s no person that I respect more than my wonderful wife. She is the sole reason I’m the all singing, all-running person that I am today and I’ll forever be thankful to her for giving me the much needed push to do my first run. Of course, the sole reason I listened to her in the first place is because of how much I already respected her. She’s been my hero for years and will be so for years to come!”

Jess’ Best Mate

“My pal Jen is pure magic, she’s a real force of nature and capable of some serious motivation when the going gets tough. When I was training for my first serious run, Jen was the one person I’d go to for moral support. Whenever I felt that I wasn’t getting anywhere, or that I wasn’t going to make it, I’d give her a call and she’d talk sense at me until I was sure of myself again. I credit that first running success to her, as well as all my later successes!”

Beckie’s Super-Mum

“Mum’s always been there for me, but she’s also served as one of the best role models I’ve ever had. It was my Mum who inspired me to do my first run and she never ceases to amaze me with her can-do attitude and her generosity. She’s always the first person to volunteer for running events, so even when she’s not running, she’d helping out in some way and she never complains about any of it; what a legend!”

The Fab Co-Worker

“My best mate at work is a guy called Terry. To be perfectly honest I really wasn’t a fan of Terry when I first met him, maybe I was having an off-day or maybe it was the endless jokes he felt the need to tell me, but something just rubbed me up the wrong way about him. Of course, this soon changed when he helped me raise hundreds of pounds for charity. When I started fund-raising he was the first one to chip in, it wasn’t long before he was volunteering to organise a bake sale and even run with me!”

The 6 Charity Runs You Should Enter

Get ready to tackle one of these exciting runs!

Once you’ve got yourself trained up, why not look to tackle a real challenge in 2019?

If you’ve stuck with our blog since the start then hopefully you’ll have got to the point where you’re feeling ready to tackle your first serious foot race. We always recommend taking at least a year to build up your fitness before entering your first run. This preparation time is necessary to build up your confidence, as well as your fitness so that you can be as ready as possible for your big day.

These runs are amongst some of the most iconic in UK road races, as such they’re a magnet for athletes and running heroes alike, so if you want to run in one of them then it’s best to plan well ahead and get your application in early so that you can get on with training and fundraising!

London Marathon

Perhaps the most prestigious of all foot races in England, although the London Marathon has been surpassed in challenge by the recently created ‘Ultra Marathon’ class, it still remains one of the most exciting events British running events to take part in. The marathon is so popular that it is over-subscribed every year, you’re not likely to get in on the first application, but with each successive year that you apply your chances increase.

Go to https://www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com for more info.

Tough Mudder

Who would have thought that a 10 miles assault course could prove to be so popular? This extreme fun run has now become an institution, with annual events being held all across the country each year. Although there’s a competitive class that you can take part in, this is still considered a team event and one that should be tackled with friends – so get your pals together and get muddy!

Go to https://toughmudder.co.uk for more info.

Chase the Pud York


Santa dashes don’t get any bigger than this! York’s Chase the Pud run is attended by thousands of people every year, despite the freezing the weather that is almost guaranteed during December. Entry to this festive fun run includes everything you need to don the iconic suit of St. Nick and all proceeds go towards the British Heart Foundation, a truly worthwhile cause that helps thousands of people each year.

Go to https://www.bhf.org.uk/how-you-can-help/events/runs/chase-the-pud for more info.

SimplyHealth Great North Run

The Great North Run is attended by over 50,000 people each year, making it the largest half-marathon in the world. Established in 1981, this race is attended by every kind of runner imaginable: from the fancy-dress wearing charity runners to world-class athletes such as Mo Farah! Due to its popularity, it’s important to get your entry in early and don’t skimp on training as this is a serious event that you’ll need to be fit for!

Go to https://www.greatrun.org/great-north-run for more info.

Charitable Causes Worth Your Time

There are hundreds of worthy charities that you can run for, many of whom will happily send you a pack with branded goodies so that you can let everyone know who you’re running for.

In fact, there are so many charities that it can be a little difficult at times to figure out who to raise money for. For many people their choice of charity will usually be determined by something that happens to them in their life. A family tragedy or an unexpected diagnosis are often the instigating event that cause a person to make their choice of charity.

Should you be lucky enough not to be struck by misfortune, then you may be at a loss when it comes to pick which cause to support. If you find yourself knocking on contemporary doors and posting your efforts online then you may want to find a charity that you’re particularly passionate for.

Here are the charities that we’re particularly fond of:

Silver Fit


There aren’t enough charities promoting exercise, let alone exercise for the elderly, which is why we love Silver Fit so much. Silver Fit aims to get as many older people on their feet and moving as possible, and they do this by promoting free (or very cheap) activity sessions across the UK, giving thousands of older people across the UK the chance to get some much needed social time and exercise.

Find out more about their fantastic work on their site: http://www.silverfit.org.uk

Activity Alliance


The Activity Alliance (formerly the English Federation of Disability Sport) has a super simple vision: Disabled people are active for life. It’s a vital one and something that’s so easy to get behind. Through enabling organisations to support individual disabled people, they’re hoping to see enhanced health amongst disabled people, not to mention a more equal society in which disabled people can achieve more.

Find out more about them on their site here: http://www.activityalliance.org.uk/

Good Gym

The concept of Good Gym is a smart one, where everyone involved benefits from the charity and disparate human effort it combined to achieve a singular goal. This innovative scheme has been running for a number of years and has seen thousands of ‘missions’ get completed for older people who are in need of help, or simply some moral support. By signing up to become a coach, volunteers can take part in group tasks to help out older people or simply drop in and hang out for a bit.

Find out more about how you can help Good Gym here: https://www.goodgym.org

UKActive

This charity’s purpose is far-reaching and important: to get more people from all walks of life more active, more often. As an organisation they are committed to promoting active lifestyles across all demographics and do this by facilitating partnerships, and creating world class memberships throughout the UK. They provide their partners with much needed support in order for them to support a greater network of future fitness fanatics.

Find out more about UKActive by heading to their site: https://www.ukactive.com

Getting On Your Feet: Running 101

To go from couch potato to fun-runner is no easy challenge, in fact your first 5k might seem down right daunting when you haven’t even ran 1km yet!

If you’re thinking about registering for your first run, but are worried that you might not be ready to complete it: stop worrying and start training. The first problem all runners face is motivation, if you’ve never ran before (except to catch the bus) then the prospect of doing so might seem rather momentous. Our runners, no matter how many miles they’ve covered, were all at this stage at one point in their lives – getting past it is the first real challenge.

Here are our pointers on how to get off the sofa and into your trainers:

Set Reasonable Goals

We’re all firm believers in the old adage of ‘mind over matter’ but just because you want to get jump off your sofa and straight into that 5k doesn’t mean you can. The best plan of attack is to build yourself up with reasonable goals and build up to the distance. Start with 1km walk every other day for a couple of weeks and then scale up the distance/speed as the weeks go on.

Feed Your Body

If you’ve not exercised for a long time (or never!) then you might not be aware of how exhausting it can be! Remember to plan a post-run meal so that you can properly refuel after each run. Even though you might not be covering that much distance to start with, you’ll never know, you’ll find that you’ll need more food than usual to keep you going through the day.

Equip Yourself

Don’t scrimp on equipment when you’re starting out. A good pair of running shoes with plenty of support is imperative for you to protect your knees and ankles. Running puts your joints under a much greater strain than walking, this impact can often be the cause of injuries, especially to those who are just starting out. If you know that you’re susceptible to injuries then make sure to take extra care and wear supports if you need them.

Find A Good Route

In order to get into a good routine you should find a route that you feel comfortable running repeatedly. By getting used to running the same route you can get a better grip on how your fitness is progressing and also start timing yourself. Whilst you might not be aiming to smash any world records, by tracking your improvement you’ll be able to keep yourself motivated to continue heading out for runs.

Join A Team

If you’re still finding that you’re lacking the motivation to get out running on a regular basis then you could consider joining a team or even a running club. You don’t need to be an athlete to join a running club, they’re full of people who are new to running just like you and are looking for more motivation. There are running clubs all around the UK, so don’t feel like you have to do this training alone!