Amazing stories involving running surface by the hundreds every year. (Flip through any issue of Runner's World and you'll see what we mean.) From young to old, elite athlete to newbie, the running community continues to show it not only hits the road each day to stay healthy or PR a race, but also to help others and inspire.
Here's a look at some recent stories that will motivate you to continue to lace up your running shoes each day, and possibly find a great cause of your own.
This group certainly runs like "You Know Who" is chasing them. In March of 2014, the Hogwarts Running Club was officially launched by Air Force Lt. Col. Brian Biggs, 39, who admits to great fandom of the Harry Potter series. He's built a Facebook-based community of runners who hold virtual races at a variety of distances. (Often distances include sorcery-themed lengths, like the Department of Mysteries 6.2442, which spells out "MAGIC" if you type it on the phone.) In 2015, this online community has raised money for various charities, including some focused on cancer research, military pet foster care, and cystic fibrosis. More
Ellie Todd knew exactly what to do when she put on her first set of prosthetic running blades. The 4-year-old, who was born with a genetic condition that kept her tibia bones from forming, ran straight to her mother, Miranda Todd. Miranda Todd was instrumental in helping her "always on the move" child acquire her new set of prosthetics. A Facebook group called Momastery donated $20,000 to offset the cost for Ellie's running blades after Miranda submitted an essay about her hero--Ellie--for the group's charity drive. Additional funds were later donated by the Hanger Clinic, which manufactures the prosthetics. All done to help this little girl run. More
11-Year-Old's Streak Raises $10,000 for Friend With Cancer
A 30-day running streak is a commitment at any age, but Ryan Tarapchak of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, ran for a month with more than miles on his mind. When Ryan heard that his friend's 6-year-old sister, Isabella O'Brien, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, he decided to run start a run streak along with a GoFundMe page for Isabella. To date, he's exceeded his initial goal by raising more than $13,000 to help with Isabella's treatments. "For an 11-year-old kid deciding to do something like this so selflessly for someone else, his parents should be very proud of him," Isabella's dad, Scott, said. More
The Evans family went coast-to-coast over the summer--at a pace of 50 miles a day for 60 days. Shaun Evans and his 9-year-old son, Shamus, who has cerebral palsy, ran with the rest of his family as they followed along in an RV. Because Shamus cannot run on his own due to his physical limitations, his father pushed him in a racing chair. From Seattle to New York, the family raised more than $100,000 so other children like Shamus could experience the feeling of running. Along the way, they donated 25 running chairs to families in need. "It's a little bittersweet it's ending," Shaun told Runner's World near the end of the trip. "It's been such a great summer." More
The elite running couple, Ryan and Sara Hall, made a big announcement that had nothing to do with their racing plans. The couple recently announced their adoption of four Ethiopian sisters--Ana, Mia, Jasmine, and Lily. This is not the first time the couple has lent a helping hand. Aside from running marathons in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Boston, the couple still finds time to help build hospitals in Kenya and fund health clinics in Mozambique. Their Hall Steps Foundation allows them to be active in these Africa charitable projects. More
Runner Equips His Teammates With New Running Shoes
Although high school senior Stefan Pressley longed for a car, he spent two-thirds of his summer job earnings on something more rewarding. Pressley spent $540 on running shoes for his cross-country teammates who needed them. "My team is my family, and I want them to have the best season," he said. Fortunately, Pressley's teammates aren't the only ones aware of their captain's act of kindness. Two car dealerships have written checks to pay Pressley back for the shoes. Pressley said having a car would allow him to drive to cross country practice and give his teammates rides. He just has to pass his driving test first. More
James Lawrence definitely took his body to the limit for a good cause. The 39-year-old triathlon coach and personal trainer set out this summer to complete 50 Ironman-distance events in 50 states in 50 consecutive days. He completed his quest in July, raising $70,000 for the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation. Along the way, Lawrence's wife and four children traveled with him in a motor home. His 12-year-old daughter, Lucy, ran 50 consecutive 5Ks with her dad to make the trip even more memorable. "She's setting an example for the next generation," he said. More