When I ran my first marathon back in 2008, I raised money for the American Cancer Society and trained with their training program. I did so because I felt like I needed the support of a group training program to get through my first marathon and because the American Cancer Society meant a lot to me, having lost a number of loved ones to cancer.
Now, seven years later, I am getting ready to run my 7th marathon. On November 1, I’ll line up in Staten Island and make my way 26.2 miles through the five boroughs of New York City, eventually crossing the finish line in Central Park. I can’t even tell you how excited I am for this!
And once again, I will be raising money for a charity that means a lot to me – this time, for buildOn. If you’ve followed me for a while, you have probably heard of buildOn. They were the partner charity for Passports with Purpose in 2013, when we raised $84,000 to for the organization to build two schools in southern Mali. Last fall, I had the amazing opportunity to visit the schools in Menie and Folona and see firsthand the impact our fundraising has had on those communities. The excitement and gratitude of all of the villagers, from the elders all the way down to the youngest students, left a lasting impression and I left Mali promising myself that I would do whatever I could to continue to support the work that buildOn is doing there.
So as I train for the marathon over the next four and a half months, I will also be raising money for buildOn – specifically, for their programs in Mali!
Mali is located in West Africa and is one of the poorest countries in the world with one of the lowest literacy rates. It has also struggled with a war against Islamic extremists in the northern part of the country over the last few years. To date, buildOn has constructed more than 200 elementary schools in Mali and aims to eventually build new secondary schools as well to enable students in rural areas to continue their educations. What I love about buildOn is they involve the whole community when they build a new school and they require that the villages send their boys and girls to school in equal numbers.
My fundraising goal is $3500 – if everyone reading this blog donated just $5, I would hit my goal this week!
My training officially starts today and I will be tracking my training progress online – both to hold myself accountable and to hopefully help others out there who may be thinking about training for a marathon as well. I have heard from a number of readers that they would love to do one, but don’t think they can, so I want to provide an up close look of what training for a marathon actually entails. I will post once a week with a look back at how my training went the previous week – so stay tuned for my first post next Monday!