BLOG: "Why Do You Run?" We Asked Four Runners Training for the Chicago Marathon Which Charity They're Fundraising for and Why

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“Why do you run?”

As runners, it’s a question we get asked all of the time - from friends, family members, coworkers, you name it. But coming from us, it takes on a different tone. A deeper meaning. 

The Chicago Endurance Sports marathon training program powered by HOKA ONE ONE hosted a Charity Runner Appreciation Day at all four training locations. Runners were asked to wear their charity jerseys for whom they are fundraising to help bring attention and support to the cause that is most personal to them.

This year alone, 469 training participants are currently running for over 30 charities that partner with Chicago Endurance Sports and the Chicago Marathon Charity Program. With a minimum fundraising goal of $1,250, our runners alone have raised over $600,000 dollars for charity.

We want to celebrate and recognize your efforts this past weekend and say thank you for living and breathing our brand’s mantra that Running Changes Everything. 

The following runners volunteered to tell their individual stories about the charity they run for and why.

Name: Annie Barz

What charity do you run for? Lurie Children’s Hospital.

Why do you run for Lurie Children’s Hospital? In 2016 I was actually signed up to run the Chicago Marathon with a lottery spot as a bucket list item. A couple of weeks before training would have started, my daughter who was not quite three was diagnosed with brain cancer so I obviously could not train. My daughter was the priority. But, it gave me a “why” for the next year’s marathon. My daughter went through chemotherapy and radiation and received amazing care at Lurie Children’s hospital. We couldn’t be more grateful for the nurses and the doctors. So, without hesitation for 2017 I signed up to run the marathon with Lurie Children’s Hospital and I’ve done it every year since. It's been four years and my daughter has no evidence of disease and doing awesome.

When training gets tough is there anything you think about that helps you pull through or break through that wall? I think about my daughter and all of the other pediatric cancer families that we know. The stuff that we put these kids through to save their lives - it’s nothing compared to going for a run. And so when it gets hard I guess I just stop and think to myself that I’m grateful that I can do it because there’s a lot of people who can’t.

Name: Scott Metroff

What charity do you run for? Lupus Society of Illinois.

Why do you run for the Lupus Society of Illinois? I run in honor of my sister, Molly. She was diagnosed with Lupus when she was a teenager and she’s lived with it her whole life. The charity was always there not only helping her but my family to help us learn more about the disease and help her through it and help get her the resources she needs.

When training gets tough is there anything you think about that helps you pull through or break through that wall? It does sound cliche but I think about the struggles Molly went through. It helps push me. We are a close-knit family so I do look deep down inside for my family to push me through and give me the motivation.

Name: Steve Greenspon

What charity do you run for? Big Shoulders Fund

What does Big Shoulders Fund do? Providing scholarship opportunities and educational opportunities to underserved kids within Chicago and Northwest Indiana.

Why do you run for Big Shoulders Fund? It’s truly a wonderful organization with a lot of great, passionate people within it. When my son was playing soccer I got to know a lot of great kids and families. Kids who wanted to do well. Who tried real hard. Very talented. Very intelligent. The families were passionate about making their kids successful but the schooling and opportunities to succeed weren’t always there. Big Shoulders Fund gives them the opportunity to go to other schools and follows them through college and provides them this network to be more successful later on in life.

When training gets tough is there anything you think about that helps you pull through or break through that wall? Absolutely. I do this for the kids. I think about the kids. I’m doing this to enjoy it and support them and do anything I can do to make their lives a little bit happier, a little bit successful, a little bit easier - that’s what motivates me along.

Name: April Jelinek

What charity do you run for? Imerman Angels

Why do you run for Imerman Angels? I chose Imerman Angels because of their mission. They provide cancer survivors, fighters, and their caregivers one on one cancer support. I have many loved ones who have died from cancer or who are currently still fighting the fight who have used Imerman Angels’ support. Even one of my closest friends is a mentor Angel through me opening the door from her. It’s such a great organization.

When training gets tough is there anything you think about that helps you pull through or break through that wall? Well, there are a lot of people who can’t run and do those hard things so I tell myself I can do hard things and that it’s okay to be uncomfortable and push through it because there are a lot of people who are worse off and going through a much tougher time.

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