This week I’m using my Weekly Special to introduce you to something personal, Run Plus One. Run Plus One is a nonprofit organization that was founded by my brother and sister-in-law. The organization combines running, community and charity work and I asked Jeremy a few questions in order to give you an idea of what Run Plus One is all about.

Tell us a little bit about Run Plus One. Ex – What is your mission, goals, etc.

Run Plus One is a new charity that promotes better health for individuals while providing runners with a vehicle to help others with their health at the same time. Run Plus One is about building a community of runners who want to show that one runner, one mile, and one dollar can make a difference when we all work together.

Our Mission Statement is simple, “Running for Change”. Whether it’s changing our own health or helping to raise funds for health care causes, change is bound to happen. It’s also somewhat a play on words, because we believe that no contribution is too small, we will literally run for change. We believe that small donations can make an impact when we put them together.

The donations that our runners help raise will be used to provide grants to various health care causes, our current cause is cancer related issues. Our selected health care cause rotates quarterly. The organization solicits input from our community on what causes they are interested in running to support.

Where did the idea for Run Plus One come from?

The concept of Run Plus One was hatched but where else, on a run. I was thinking about some of the elite athletes that you read about or see on TV. These are extraordinary men and women who are accomplishing great things for various charities. They use their abilities as well as their public stature to raise awareness and funds to support causes. These are people who are revered and looked up to throughout the running community and rightfully so, they are accomplishing great things.

But I realized that you do not have to be an elite athlete, ultra runner or running celebrity to make a difference. We all run for different reasons but in the end we all have the same result, we are improving our health. There is also another commonality among runners, once you start you are likely to get hooked. Increasing your mileage and expanding your goals are common themes for runners.

On my runs, I must also admit that my thoughts go to random places. Do you remember the concept of a jump-a-thon from when you were a kid? The concept was you go around and get people to support or sponsor you for the jump-a-thon. They pledge to donate a small amount of money for every minute you can jump rope. The more sponsors you had and the more minutes you jumped the more you raised. Simple and relatively inexpensive for contributors but the dollars added up. So, as I headed down the trail I asked myself why couldn’t this work for adults who run? Runners are always adding miles, their friends and families are usually supportive, why couldn’t we make this work? And so, Run Plus One was born.

How does a runner get involved in Run Plus One?

To become a runner for Run Plus One is pretty simple, those interested should visit our website and visit our “Runners” page. We ask our runners to notify us that they are running for the organization (this can be done via email at [email protected]). We also need to state that runners are assuming all personal risks when it comes to their physical abilities and exercise choices. That being said, the more we expand our community, the more we can accomplish. Remember runners are already out there doing their thing, Run Plus One is a vehicle to use what you do to help others. Let me give two examples of programs that runners can use to help raise funds.

You have signed up for a 5K race (three mile run). Your friends and family are excited and generally supportive of your decision to run. As a runner for Run Plus One, you could ask your friends and family to consider donating $1 per mile that you run to Run Plus One to show their support and help raise funds for the current health care cause. If you asked 10 individuals and each contributed $1 per mile, you will have raised $30 for the organization. The donations may seem small but they add up. One of our runners has had great success in raising nearly $200 through this program while running a half marathon.

Another program, could be the “plus one” program. In this program your friends/family (supporters) could contribute $1 for each mile you add to your long run each week. For example, you run 12 miles on your Saturday run this week and 13 miles the next, your supporters would donate $1. As the miles add up so do the dollars. Think about how you could use the two programs in conjunction with training for a marathon.

You can see that we are really trying to build that community to work together the donations are small but they do add up. Our runners have found personal contacts and social media as great ways to get the word out. We ask all runners of Run Plus One to direct their supporters to the Run Plus One website to make donations electronically or mail contributions directly to the organization. This is to ensure accountability to all of our donors.

What if I’m not a runner? Can I still help?

First, at Run Plus One we believe that everyone can be a runner. A runner for our organization is someone who is moving to improve their health and help raise funds. That being said, we know what you meant by the question. If you were to look at some of the “ultra” runners out there and ask them how they do it you will see that they have great support teams. We ask our “non-runner” supporters to be that support team; to get the word out about us, let people know we exist and what we are doing, sponsor a runner, and if you can, contribute to the organization. We also take suggestions for future health care causes that we will be looking to raise funds for.

What is your vision for Run Plus One?

With Run Plus One, we want to start a movement by getting people moving for our cause. Our goal is to build that community and network of runners and supporters who are working together for the common goal of making some change. We want to have runners throughout the nations collectively running for the purpose of improving our health while supporting others in their health.

Anything else that you’d like to share?

We welcome you to visit our website to learn more about us, tell us why you run, make a donation, and become involved with the organization. Our current health care issue that we are running to support is cancer related issues. Our website is www.runplusone.org and you can find us on Facebook and Twitter.

We appreciate everyone’s interest and want to thank Heather for her interest in the organization and help in getting the word out about us.

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