5 Creative Fundraising Ideas for Runners

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Who doesn’t love a bit of fundraising? Generating funds for charities whilst raising their profile is a beautiful thing. Runners typically fundraise through obvious means, like running a marathon. However, there are numerous ways to use running to raise money for a good cause. In this post, we list 5 of them. Happy fundraising, and even happier running! 

Why fundraise with a unique event? 

“The world accommodates you for fitting in, but only rewards you for standing out.” ― Matshona Dhliwayo

From experience, the more bizarre the event the more likely you are to raise more funds. Having fundraised through typical means like marathons and half-marathons, these events don’t tend to raise an eyebrow. Why? They’re done by many other runners and are the ‘everyday’ event for most runners. Therefore, typical events don’t tend to generate tonnes of excitement which could mean a lower amount raised. 

On the other hand, I’ve fund raised through unique events such as the 4/4/48 challenge (see below) which generated stacks more attention. Needless to say, my fundraising reflected this excitement through people being more generous with their donations. 

If you want to raise lots of money for your chosen cause, I’d strongly recommend considering one of the below running events. 

How to collect money for fundraising: 

JustGiving is a global online social platform for fundraising. It’s secure, fast, convenient and makes fundraising easy. Having used Just Giving to raise over £3,000 for charity in the past 2 years across multiple running events, I’d highly recommend using it. 

1. 4/4/48 challenge 

What is it? Running 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours. 

Uniqueness factor: 10/10

I did this challenge last April to raise money for Parkinson’s UK after being inspired by David Goggins, who did it in the book ‘Living with a Seal‘. 

4/4/48 is fun yet it can be difficult. Sure, 4 miles might not seem that far but having to do it over 11 times in the space of 2 days takes its toll. For me, and many others I know who have done it, the hardest part is the lack of sleep. 

You may be able to get a quick 3 hours of shut-eye in-between runs but the alarm clock soon goes off and another 4 miles must be completed. 

Its uniqueness makes this challenge a prime fundraising event, guaranteed to raise a few eyebrows. I was featured in my home town’s newspaper because this challenge was so different, which helped my fundraising effort massively; I raised over £500 in the end. 

For more information on the 4/4/48 challenge, check out the following posts: 

2. Ultramarathon 

What is it? Participating in an event which covers over 26.2 miles in distance. 

Uniqueness factor: 8/10

For serious runners, ultra-marathons are a true endurance test. Deemed ‘ultra’ because they are over the standard 26.2-mile distance, they make a great platform for fundraising. 

People aren’t as familiar with ultra-marathons as they are regular marathons. It’s more dramatic to tell someone you’re running 65 miles in a single day for charity than the bog-standard marathon distance (though that is impressive too). 

Because ultra-marathons are extreme, there’s usually more surprise and bigger reactions when they you tell others that you’re taking part in one for charity. Hopefully, this means they’re more likely to donate. 

3. Fancy dress event

What is it? Running an event in a costume. 

Uniqueness factor: 7/10

Ah, fancy dress. You have to love it. Dressing up as a character and running an event is fun, challenging and draws attention. 

The best events to run in fancy dress are the big races. Though you could technically do fancy dress fundraising at any race, the big ones tend to attract more fancy dress wearers. The London, Brighton and Manchester marathons are all great examples where fancy dress skills are on point. 

Paddington Bear, Spiderman, Bumblebees, Bananas in Pyjamas, Buzz Lightyear, Princess Peach or a pint of beer are all costumes you could run in, to name a few. All in the name of raising funds for charity. 

Tip: Practice running in your costume before race day. Don’t be worried about looking silly. You must test run to be confident you can move freely in your costume. The last thing you want is to bail out of a fancy dress 10K in the first kilometre because the costume is unbearable. 

There are endless choices of fancy dress to choose from but, if you’re stuck, check out this post: 

4. Obstacle / mud run 

What is it? Running an obstacle or mud run. 

Uniqueness factor: 9/10

If you’re more the adventerous type, mud and obstacle races are the fundraising events for you. These unique races push runners to the limit though mud-soaked, obstacle generous mayhem. 

Dependant on your appetite for excitement, there’s a mud/obstacle run for everyone. Ranging from a mere ‘mud-run’ to possibly getting eletrocuted and iced, you should be able to find a race to suit your appetite. 

These races are shocking, dangerous and fun. They’re bound to get you more attention in your fundraising efforts and help raise more cash. 

Check out the video below of ‘Tough Mudder’ in the UK for a great example. 

5. 5K Team Relay

What is it? Running a continuous relay of 5K’s in a team. 

Uniqueness factor: 8/10 

Perfect for teams, the 5K team relay is a fantastic way to involve many people in the fundraising effort. The more people involved in fundraising the money money will be raised. So, how does it work?

First, a team of runners is assembled to take part. It could be anyone. Friends, family, colleagues, members of a running club. Ideally, at least 3 people will form the team for a decent fundraising effort.

Members of the team take turns completing a 5K run. Once a runner completes a 5K, they tag the next person who then completes the 5K, before tagging the next runner to start and so on.

Team 5K relays are brilliant fundraising events because they can be customised to any level of ability. An elite group of runners might see how many 5Ks they can accomplish between them over 12 hours whilst a group of fun runners will be happy to run one 5K each. The level of difficulty is totally down to the team putting on the event.

You could even invite others to take part in the 5K relay as part of a competitive challenge. 3 teams could participate, all raising funds for the same charity. The goal could be to have all runners complete their 5K relay segment the fastest.

Getting more than one team involved means greater reach with the fundraising promotions. Think about how much more powerful it is to have 3 teams of 4 share a fundraising post on Facebook than just one team. Each team sharing the post on it’s own is great additional publicity but the power comes when the post is shared by social media friends, and it’s shared again by their friends and so on.

Running a social event, like the 5K relay, is excellent for raising the profile of a fundraising effort and generating more funds. Plus, it’s great fun.


There you have it; 5 creative fundraising ideas for runners 

I hope you found this post useful and are now ready to fund raise for your cause in style. If you have any more ideas, put it in the comments below. Happy running!

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  1. 9 Top Tips for the David Goggins Annual 4x4x48 Challenge - Runners First

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