It’s almost that time of year again. Time for millions of Americans to trample over one another trying to get to some discounted TV. I’m talking about Black Friday, of course, the day after Thanksgiving when prices are slashed, stores open in the wee hours, and all the crazies come a’running. But I’m thrilled to have discovered that a local movement has turned Black Friday into TRACK Friday, a day when people run (or walk) laps for charity instead of racking up credit card debt!
I just love the idea of raising funds and awareness for worthy causes while promoting good health through exercise. And, c’mon, won’t it feel good to burn off that epic Turkey Day meal??
Track Friday is the brainchild of Cranford resident and marathon runner Eric Rubinson, who established the movement in 2012 in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. According to Eric: “It started as a spontaneous, individual fundraiser for the Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. I issued an informal challenge to my friends and family: if they could collectively raise $5,000 for local charities by Thanksgiving, I would head over to my old high school track on Black Friday and run a full marathon–105.5 laps. As word spread, others wanted to join me on the track, even for just a lap or two. We reached the $5,000 in just nine days. By the time Thanksgiving came, we’d generated over $22,000 for charities, and had over 30 runners and walkers in four states.”
This year marks the third annual Track Friday, so it is now a well-established annual giving event. Participants can support ANY charity, raise any amount, and run or walk any distance, anywhere. You can choose to raise money for a charity that means something to you, or you can support an already-existing team’s cause by donating to their specified charity.
Instead of paying a registration fee as you would to participate in a marathon, etc., make a donation to the charity of your choice. Track Friday uses Razoo, a reputable service for processing charitable donations, to support Track Friday fundraising. All of the resources for registering, donating, and fundraising for Track Friday are available on www.trackfriday.org.
David Brearley High School in Kenilworth will be a central meetup location for the many area residents who will participate in this year’s Track Friday. There’s no official start time–you can do your laps at any point that day–but CrossFit Treehouse of Kenilworth will be hosting a free workout at the Kenilworth high school track at 10 a.m. If you’re not going to be local for the event, you can participate ANYWHERE by finding a publicly accessible track, or even planning your own meetup. Meetups communicated to Track Friday are posted on a central map available on trackfriday.org.
Got kids? Bring them along! There are always oodles of kiddos joining in on Track Friday. Don’t expect a lot of fanfare–BYO snacks, drinks, games for the kids, and so on. But do make an effort to do a lap or two this year; I promise you’ll still have plenty of time to shop, and you’ll be supporting something wonderful. Now I just need a new pair of kicks!i