Tired, sweaty and exhausted, that is how most people describe the way they feel after running a race. Though it is hard to run a marathon, 10k or even a 5k there are many people that are willing to pay to do it. Now, what would motivate a person to pay to do something that they could do in their own neighborhood? Charity… charity is the answer. In the United States, there are many different opportunities to run for a good cause, and Idaho is no exception. Idaho is home to many different charity races that are designed to help people or organizations in need. There are races all over the state. There are some in the north, south, east and west -- they’re everywhere.
Northern Idaho has many races, but one of these is quite amazing. If you’ve ever been to Northern Idaho, then you know how beautiful and natural it is. The mountains and forests are a seemingly endless paradise. This is the backdrop of St. Maries Idaho. St. Maries isn’t very large, but it is the host city for the St. Joe River Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K.
Every summer the St. Joe River Races are completed by hundreds of people from all over the United States. The Races began in the year 2011 and will be celebrating their fourth year in 2014.
The Races are actually a part of the St. Joe River Marathon Foundation. The Foundation donates the funds they receive to people who have been afflicted with cancer. This charity is something that have really helped these people and is why a lot of runners choose to come to Idaho to run.
This year, the Marathon will be adding a new race to the cue: the SuperKid River Run. This race is designed for children under twelve years old to participate in racing. The SuperKid River Run is only 1.2 miles and all finishers will receive a t-shirt and root beer float.
Barefoot Boise is a Treasure Valley based running group that hosts many different charity events. Many of you are probably thinking though, “Barefoot? Why would they run barefoot?” Barefoot running is also known as ‘natural running’. The human foot isn’t designed for shoes, shoes are designed for feet, and for centuries barefoot running was the way you ran. The invention of shoes isn’t a bad one, shoes are necessary to protect our feet, but when running it is more healthy for the feet to go ‘foot nude’. Thin soled shoes (like moccasins) and shoes created to simulate barefoot running are possibilities for barefoot runners that still want to have the protection of shoes.
Barefoot Boise is, as stated above, a charitable organization. Each year they chose a different association or organization to donate their proceeds to. The 2014 race will benefit Recreation-Unlimited (RU). RU is a group that provides disabled people with opportunities to learn to ski. However, RU’s goal is not just to teach skiing, it is also hoping to help enhance these people with disabilities’ “social, physical and developmental skills”.
Barefoot Boise’s races are either 10k or 5k. Anyone is eligible to join the races, no matter their footwear preference.
In Twin Falls Idaho some great charity runs are the Spirit of Magic Valley 5K and Half Marathon run/walks. These runs are to support the Twin Falls Community Foundation Trail Enhancement Fund. The Trail Enhancement Fund is used to maintain the trails around Twin Falls. Twin Falls is a very outdoors community and the trails one way for them to access the surrounding natural features. So, in a sense, the the Spirit of Magic Valley races help to support the culture of the Twin Falls area.
Idaho Falls Idaho is the home of another amazing marathon - 5k charity. Every year the Idaho Run 4 Hearing chapter has a full/half marathon, 10k, and 5k races. The proceeds of these races go to helping the hearing impaired.
The Idaho Falls Run 4 Hearing races also donate to the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund. The Olive Osmond hearing fund’s website says this about their purpose, “The Olive Osmond Hearing Fund’s mission is to promote hearing-health awareness by providing educational and musical resources to accommodate the needs of the deaf and hard-of-hearing in honor of Olive Osmond. Our goal is to donate our resources in assisting the deaf and hard of hearing and to provide a way that will assist thousands of men, women and children worldwide in having an equal chance to reach their greatest dreams and aspirations in life.”
These are just a few of the charity races in Idaho and only a minute fraction of the races in the United States. With so many races, it’s good to know that all of them have one thing in common: charity. They truly are an amazing extension of human kindness.