Can I run faster than other reporters in this city? Can I beat them over 21.1 kilometres?
This is the challenge I accept with the Media Charity Challenge for the Scotiabank Half-Marathon, which runs this year on Sunday, June 26.
Invited as a member of the media, if I can beat all the other female reporters and broadcasters who are also invited, the charity of my choice earns $250. I feel the pressure.
I also feel responsibility in choosing from one of nearly 100 important and worthy charities. There are charities for degenerative and physical diseases, traumatic injury, and of course for various kinds of cancer, charities for victims of violence, poverty and neglect, charities for the arts, and charities for education and youth and rape relief. There are also charities for adaptive sport, like the B.C. Deaf Sports Federation, the B.C. Wheelchair Basketball Society and Special Olympics B.C. Still more charities for suicide prevention, AIDS, community policing and neighbourhood houses, Pride activism, environmental conservation, libraries, kittens and orphans.
All of these charities are worthy of my time and money. Many speak directly to my values and some I have already supported through volunteerism and financial donations.
Charity runs date to the 1960s in the U.S. and, in Canada, we saw this emerge in major way in 1980 with the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope, an endeavour that continues today with annual school day runs at roughly 9,000 Canadian locations and around the world in more than 30 countries.
Call it "fundrunning." It's big business.
I will run the Scotiabank Half-Marathon for the WISH Drop-In Centre Society, an Downtown Eastside organization that operates a drop-in centre for survival sex workers and other women in the street-based sex trade.
For the charity of my choice to benefit from $250, I have to beat the other women running for the charities of their choice. If I don’t win and my charity doesn’t benefit, the donation will go to another charity. In my books, that is still a win.
If I don't win, I will donate $50 to WISH.
Thank you to the race organizers for the invitation.