Charity sporting events offer incentives to get fit

Mon Dec 2, 2013 4:01am EST
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Along with the usual reasons for losing weight, like fitting into a bikini and improving health, fitness experts say raising money for a good cause is another incentive for people to get in shape.

Entering a charity run in memory of a loved one or a bicycle ride for a worthy cause has pushed many couch potatoes from their sedentary lifestyle on to the path of fitness.

Kelly Flynn, running coach for Team In Training, a charity sports endurance program from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, has been teaching novice runners to tackle the Boson Marathon since 2005.

"The people who've never run before and have a motivation, like a loved one, are the easiest people to coach," said Flynn, a 40-year-old Boston-based attorney. "They stick it out. And when they cross the finish line, they've become running junkies."

Flynn, a soccer and softball player in her teenage years, said it was the death of a high school friend from lymphoma that inspired her to become a running coach for charity.

"I saw a flyer (from Team in Training) and went, on a lark," she said. "His death was my catalyst."

Team in Training, which is 25 years old, has raised more than $1.4 billion, with more than 600,000 people from across the country taking part in different endurance events to raise money for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Flynn, whose 200-strong team soon will start training for 2014, has helped to train more than 800 Boston marathoners and her teams have raised over $4 million.   Continued...