November 17, 2015

Running with Team Fisher House

As you all know, I ran my fourth marathon as a member of Team Fisher House. I was eager to run a marathon with a charity team and Team Fisher House was a great fit for me.  While I recapped my experience at the Marine Corps Marathon race itself, I wanted to spend some time talking more specifically about my experience with Team Fisher House.

Why go the charity route? 
I've previously discussed my interest in Fisher House and my selection of this organization for my first marathon for charity. Fisher House spoke to me which was greatly advantageous when I was talking to friends and family about my fundraising efforts. It was easy for me to articulate the benefits of the organization and it helps that they have an extremely high rating on Charity Navigator.

Fundraising support 
Team Fisher House provided great support and resources from the day I signed on to their team to the week after the race. I was incredibly impressed with the level of engagement with their fundraisers. I received several phone calls from the TFH staff to check in with me and see how the fundraising and training was going. During each phone call, they were incredibly positive and expressed their appreciation for my fundraising efforts. In addition, they also were interested in hearing about what I needed whether it was information on the race, fundraising, training, or Fisher House. After each call, I always found myself smiling and feeling really excited for the race and participation with Team Fisher House.
Mile 24 sucked but I couldn't help but smile for the
Team Fisher House photographer on the course! 
We also received emails with training and fundraising tips, fundraising progress, and Fisher House stories. Leading up to the race, we received detailed communications with logistical information and everything you could need to be prepared.

A view of the resources provided to fundraisers! It was very helpful!

As a member of Team Fisher House, each participant was provided with a team jersey to wear on race day, a hat, and pin a few months before the race. In addition, you received a team bag when you checked in at the expo. Once you raised $600, you also received a team jacket when you checked in at the expo. At the expo, you also were presented with a Team Fisher House medal. While the presentation may have lacked the ceremony of receiving a medal at the finish line, I group this medal with the one I received from the Marine at the finish line...not only did I train for the physical part of this race, I also crossed the finish line of my fundraising.
Picking up my swag at the expo! I'm holding the team bag.
There were also prize incentives for fundraising. I heard mention of these when I signed up to be on Team Fisher House, but never really thought about them so imagine my surprise when I found out that I was a top 10 fundraiser! I received the Brooks Marine Corps Marathon jacket, Team Fisher House arm sleeves, and the 25th anniversary Fisher House book. Let's just say that Fisher House does a great job of motivating its fundraisers with prizes for their efforts!

Race Weekend Events
Team Fisher House had a HUGE booth at the Marine Corps Marathon expo which was a great place for everyone on the fundraising team to get their gear and meet others on the team. There were also plenty of things for spectators - cowbells, cow hats and signs.
A view of the Team Fisher House booth at the Marine Corps Marathon expo. 
Team Fisher House coordinated a visit and tour of the Fisher House at the Water Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, MD for its top fundraisers. Given our weekend plans, I simply couldn't make the logistics quite work to participate in this visit. But I thought it was an incredible opportunity and really neat for the fundraisers to have a chance to see the organization in action!

Like most fundraising teams, there was a a team dinner before the race. My parents, Adam, and I purchased tickets to attend. The dinner was very reasonable at $10 per person and there was ample pasta for the runners. We heard information about both the Fisher House and the race teams and the top individual and team fundraisers. The evening closed with a presentation from the Scott family who had stayed in a Fisher House. Let's just say there weren't many dry eyes during Lilly Scott's account of their experience at the San Antonio Fisher House. Her story was a great reminder of why we spent hours writing emails, making phone calls, posting to social media, and whatnot requesting donations. I appreciated hearing their account firsthand and was so humbled to run for them and hundreds of other Military families.
Leaving the team dinner, Champ the Cow wished me well! 

The tent on Charity Hill was fabulous for pre- and post-race festivities. The food was plentiful and there were plenty of places to sit. And it was wonderful to be able to check your bag there before the race and not have to meander through Rosslyn after the race to retrieve it! Before the race, there were bagels, donuts, bananas, water, and Gatorade. After the race, there was every option you could imagine - bagels, fruit, cookies, subs, wings, chips, etc. There were massage therapists in the tent to help work your aching muscles. Sadly, I never took advantage of this because I got a bit cold after the race and decided to head back the the hotel for a warm shower before my name was called. Regardless, the tent provided a great place to meet other team members and reunite with your family after the race. The volunteers were helpful and supportive.

While I haven't decided what my next race will be, I would consider running for Team Fisher House again in a heartbeat! It was a fantastic experience!

Have you ever run for a charity team? What was the best part?


  1. That's so great you did that! I ran a half marathon with team in training a few years ago in honor of my mom who is a cancer survivor. The best part was having my parents come to the dinner the night before and they asked all the cancer survivors to stand up and we all applauded them. It was a really special moment for our family!

  2. I've never run for a charity before but this post makes me want to consider it. Thanks for sharing this!

  3. I love this and supporting awesome causes! Kudos to you, Christine! I ran with the American Cancer Society two years in a row and loved my experience!

  4. I LOVED my fundraising experience with Team Fisher House too. I'm so glad that you had a really positive experience as well. They do so much and can easily document how vital they are to supporting our military families. I like that about this particular non-profit - no fluff, just great programming where it is needed most. I hope to fundraise again for them in the future!

  5. I ran my first Chicago marathon as part of a charity team, UPs for Downs, which is to support Downs syndrome. It was a great experience and gave me some incentive to run!

  6. I never ran for a Charity so far, but I would love to in the future.

  7. Wow! Looks like TFH is very well organized. I ran on the Lupus Charity team when I ran my 2nd Chicago Marathon and I felt like I was blazing a trail. We didn't even have shirts. I felt bad for the person organizing it. But I wasn't there for perks, just to raise $$$ for a great cause and to that end it was a success!

  8. TFH sounds like a wonderful organization to run with! I'm running for charity for the first time this year and I love the experience so far.

  9. That is awesome, and love how much support they offer, what a great organization!
    I did a charity run back in 2005 (seems like a few years ago, but wow it's 10:) We were given some information and suggestions when we started, but for the most part we were left on our own to figure things out and how to raise the funds. It would have been nice to have done something under an organization as you did, might of been a little easier to get going and have better success.
    I did raise most the money needed, I got creative with things, I worked a lot of free hours at NBA games in concession stands for charity tips, and I charged everyone at the company I worked with $1 each Friday to wear jeans, McDonalds donated 60 breakfasts free to me, which I sold to co-workers to raise $.
    But truthfully towards the end I was so tired and exhausted from all the efforts and things I did to raise it, I finally just wrote them a check myself for the rest so I could relax and enjoy the rest of the training and race better, LOL People laugh when I tell them that, I do too. Funraising is can be hard work, but worthwhile too!

  10. I have never run for charity, I must admit i am always scared I would not be able to raise enough.

  11. I have never run for a charity. I have a hard time asking people for things so I've always shied away. But if I were going to, this would be at the top of my list!