USATF study reveals charity fundraising by runners, walkers surges to $714+ million


Jill Geer
Director of Communications
USA Track & Field

INDIANAPOLIS - Marking a trend of continued growth, road runners and walkers raised $714 million for charity in 2006, USA Track & Field (USATF) announced Monday. The figure marks a nearly 9 percent increase over 2005 and shows continued, steady increases since USATF began its annual charity survey in 2002.

The Nike Women's Marathon and Half-Marathon was named the 2006 USATF Charitable Race of the Year, while the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and its GREAT STRIDES program was honored as 2006 Charitable Organization of the Year.

Conducted internally by USATF, the national governing body of track and field, long-distance running and race walking, the study revealed that more than $714 million was raised for charitable causes by runners in 2006. USATF gathered data from national charitable race series/organizations and a sample of nearly 200 running/walking races, including many of the country's largest races.

"The continued growth of charity fundraising in the current economic climate shows the dedication of charity runners and walkers to their cause, as well as the strength of road running in this country," said USATF CEO Craig A. Masback. "The phenomenon of running and fitness as a cultural, social and economic movement continues unabated. It is only a matter of time before the billion dollar mark becomes the norm for this study."

Women unite at Nike Women's Marathon and Half-Marathon

Held annually in San Francisco, the 2006 Nike Women's Marathon and Half-Marathon and its 15,000 participants raised $16 million for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research education and patient services. The Society's mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and to improve the quality of life for patients and their families.

Since the race was founded in 2004, the Nike Women's Marathon has raised almost $60 million, making it the largest fund-raising race for the Society's Team In Training program. In the four-year history of the event, more than 60,000 women have participated, including 10,000 in 2004, 15,000 in 2005 and 2006, and 20,000 in 2007. In addition, more than 3,400 women registered to participate in the first-ever Nike+ Women's Half Marathon in 2007, a virtual half marathon enabling women anywhere in the world to run together on the same day for the same cause.

"The Nike Women's Marathon and Half Marathon captures and celebrates several major trends in running," Masback said. "The participation of women runners in the sport, and their crucial role in charity fund-raising, combine in powerful fashion for the greater good. It comes as no surprise that Nike, a leader in women's running since the company's founding, is the organizer of this unique race."

Originally inspired by the 20th anniversary of Joan Benoit Samuelson's historic gold medal win in the first all-women's marathon at the 1984 Olympics, the one-of-a-kind marathon champions women's sports and encourages everyone to "Run Together" for a good cause.

"Nike has been committed to supporting women athletes throughout the last 35 years," said Nancy Monsarrat, Nike's Brand Director. "Bringing so many women together in the Nike Women's Marathon to benefit an important cause is just one more way we can help fuel the power of sport in the lives of women. To be recognized by USATF for these efforts is an honor that we share with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and with every participant of the Nike Women's Marathon."

For more information on the Nike Women's Marathon, visit

Making GREAT STRIDES in the battle against CF

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation raised nearly $32 million in 2006 through GREAT STRIDES, the Foundation's largest national fund-raising event, as well as through road races including the Falmouth Road Race. As part of GREAT STRIDES, more than 200,000 coworkers, friends and family come together each year as one community for one cause: to help find a cure for CF. Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening, genetic disease that affects about 30,000 children and adults in the United States.

GREAT STRIDES features nearly 600 walk sites around the country, with participants walking as individuals or teams to raise money for CF over 10-kilometer (6.2 mile) courses. Since the first GREAT STRIDES walk in 1989, approximately $250 million has been raised to support vital research and care programs of the CF Foundation.

"The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has established one of the country's most successful fund-raising programs by speaking to Americans' desire to do something - not simply donate money - for a cause," Masback said. "Runners and walkers join forces around the country to help fight a disease that disproportionately affects young people. The fundraising of GREAT STRIDES has played a direct role in positively affecting lives."

"We are grateful to the tens of thousands of GREAT STRIDES walkers who come together each year in their communities to make a difference in the lives of people with cystic fibrosis," said Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. "The CF Foundation is honored to be named Charitable Organization of the Year by USA Track & Field and to be recognized for the important role we play in fighting this devastating disease. In fact, since GREAT STRIDES began in 1989, the median age of survival for people with CF has increased by 10 years to 37 years old."

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the leading organization devoted to curing and controlling cystic fibrosis. Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., the Foundation funds CF research, has 80 chapter and branch offices throughout the country, and supports and accredits a nationwide network of 115 CF care centers, which provide vital treatments and other CF resources to patients and families. Nearly 90 cents of every dollar raised by the CF Foundation is available to fund CF research and care programs. To help fight CF, get involved in GREAT STRIDES by calling (800) FIGHT CF or visiting

USATF Charitable Race of the Year: 2006, Nike Women's Marathon; 2005, J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series; 2004, Rock & Roll Marathon; 2003, Marine Corps Marathon; 2002, Boston Marathon

USATF Charitable Organization of the Year: 2006, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; 2005, Arthritis Foundation; 2004, American Heart Association Heart Walk; 2003, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Race for the Cure; 2002, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Team in Training

Charity running totals: 2006, $714 million; 2005, $656 million; 2004, $575 million; 2003, $560 million; 2002, $520 million

About USA Track & Field

USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States.

USATF is a volunteer-driven, not-for-profit organization with a staff of professional program administrators at the National Office in Indianapolis. The mission of USATF is to foster sustained competitive excellence, interest, and participation in the sports of track & field, long distance running, and race walking. For more information, visit .