Finally an event that combines my two passions: literacy and running!
This past weekend I had the pleasure of participating with a fellow librarian and McGill SIS alumni in the Legs for Literacy 10km run. Legs for Literacy is a weekend of road racing in Moncton, New Brunswick raises money and awareness for local school literacy programs. The distances include a 5km, a 10km, a half-marathon, and a full marathon. This year 1,730 participants were registered for the event and more than $40,000 was raised for literacy programs!
Participating in this event got me thinking that a road race would be an excellent idea for libraries looking for creative fundraising projects. Runners love participating in races and are willing to pay on average $40-$100 depending on the distance and the reputation of the race. I have spent tons of money over the years registering myself in races that did not benefit any particular cause. It is however much more motivating when you know your registration money is going to a worthy cause.
There would be of course the basic costs of organizing a road race to cover. However considering the possibilities for sponsorships and the tendency for race organizers to rely on volunteers, this type of event has great potential to raise money for the library (collections, programs, renovations, etc).
A running event would also be a great way for a library to reach out to the community and people who might not otherwise donate to the library. In addition to the regular race distances, Legs for Literacy also offered a shorter race which is a great idea for libraries searching to create partnerships with schools as well as family health and wellness initiatives. The race also brought business to the downtown core as runners from outside of Moncton stayed in hotels and ate in restaurants.
This is not a new or groundbreaking idea. There are libraries that have already organized such races. In fact, this year marked Magnolia Library’s 34th annual road race. I am planning to contact librarians from Magnolia to find out more about their event, since I am also curious as to why we do not see more events like this. Considering how passionate I am about running and libraries, I am definitely going to start brainstorming of the possibilities as a fundraiser for my public library for next spring/summer. I’ll keep you posted!