When was the last time you did something for the first time? Something that made you excited to jump out of bed in the morning? For me, it was the goal I set to run a half marathon for the first time last year as a Finathon fundraiser. I had set New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of 2016 to push myself to be more physically active and to “flex my fundraising muscles,” so to speak. When the opportunity to participate in a half marathon presented itself, it felt like the perfect chance to combine my resolutions for a worthy cause. It all made sense! Well, sort of…
I had never run an event in my life. I hated cardio, but I had always admired marathon runners and triathletes, envious of their drive to push themselves further and faster. So, I was thrilled to try something new, get out of my comfort zone and go the extra mile and fundraise for ocean protection. I wasn’t competing with anyone but myself, and that made it exciting. I enjoyed trying new breathing techniques, learning more about others’ opinions on running styles and experimenting with my nutrition so I had the right fuel to make the final event an enjoyable accomplishment.
The fundraising element of my journey was also much more fun than I had expected. Like most fundraisers, I was initially apprehensive about asking others for support, but family and friends surprised me with their interest and generosity. Many thanked me for my effort and for bringing their attention to vital ocean protection issues – they were pleased to have the opportunity to donate to support Project AWARE’s work. Through the power of social media, old friends I forgot I had because they had moved on to new jobs or locations around the world showed their support. They were glad to be a part of the cause and it truly moved me. I’m so grateful for all the kind backing that inspired me to cross the finish line for our ocean.
Doing something new felt like it brought a spark of magic into my life. If you have ever thought about fundraising, I encourage you to start the year off on the right foot! Set the tone for your year ahead and rally around your passion and the cause closest to your heart. You don’t have to be an endurance athlete. Marathons aren’t mandatory. I’ve been inspired by fundraisers that involved swim teams, sandlecastle-building competitions and birthday parties with an underwater twist. In fact, this year my fundraising plan involves a more relaxed pace where I’ll be practicing yoga for the cause. It’s the opportunity for flexibility and creativity that makes Finathon so rewarding.
What inspires you to flex your fundraising muscles? What’s something new that you’ve thought about trying? What will make you excited to get out of bed in 2017? Let me know, and if you still aren’t sure, reach out to me and let’s brainstorm how we can have a positive impact for our ocean in 2017!