The Austin Fit Magazine Distance Challenge is one of the longest on-going running series of its kind in Texas, working on 15-plus years of combining distances of 10K to the marathon. There have been countless modifications since the beginning—races come and go—but with a record 700-plus participants in 2012, the AFMDC is as strong as ever.
There are many reasons why one should take on the series (to challenge yourself, run in some of the best races in the state, make fitness a priority in your life) but there’s one key reason that doesn’t get enough attention.
Each of these top-notch events benefits a very worthy cause that should motivate you to get out and sign up before it’s too late. And to make it extra worthy of your entry, the AFMDC even has it’s own beneficiary—The Trail Foundation!
IBM 10K Presented by Luke’s Locker
Benefiting: Austin Parks Foundation
October 6, 2013
This may be the last year for a course through the Domain in north Austin for the AFMDC’s traditional kickoff event. This 10K benefits the Austin Parks Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to building public/private partnerships to develop and maintain parks, trails, and open spaces in Austin and Travis County.
Currently, APF is assisting in the efforts of a long-term redevelopment of Auditorium Shores to better accommodate walkers, runners, dogs, and others who enjoy open, public spaces.
Run for the Water 10-Miler Presented by Keller Williams Realty
Benefiting: The Gazelle Foundation
October 27, 2013
In it’s seventh year, Run for the Water has raised over $350,000 for the Gazelle Foundation, a registered nonprofit. Their goal for 2013 is to exceed $150,000, which translates to clean water for life for more than 6,000 citizens in Burundi.
Co-founded in 2006 by Austin-based runner Gilbert Tuhabonye, the organization constructs water projects in his home country. This October marks 20 years since he escaped death in a horrific genocide that took the lives of more than 100 classmates, an event that lead to a 15-year civil war.
The Gazelle Foundation owns and operates the event, meaning that all race entries and sponsorships go directly to their charitable mission. Since 2010, they report that 100 percent of donations have gone to building water projects.
Decker Challenge Half Marathon Presented by Rogue Running
December 8, 2013
Austin Runners Club, founded in 1974, is a registered 501(c)(3) that produces and benefits from the Decker Challenge. ARC’s mission is to improve the overall running community in this great capital city. ARC is also the overall producer of the AFMDC, whose primary beneficiary is The Trail Foundation.
More than 1,500 members make up ARC, and the all-volunteer organization strives to keep overhead at a minimum while providing competitive and non-competitive activities for members and the general public. Their main fundraiser is the Decker Challenge, which celebrates 35 years this December.
Rogue Distance Festival 30K
Benefiting: Cedar Park High School Project Graduation & Citizen’s Police Academy
January 5, 2014
In it’s second year as part of the AFMDC, Rogue took what used to be the Buda 30K and moved it up north to Cedar Park. With the new venue, they’ve chosen two local charities to support – Cedar Park Citizen’s Police Academy Alumni Association and the Cedar Park High School Project Graduation.
The Police Alumni Association’s goal is to increase the understanding between the citizens in the community and the police. More than 100 people have attended the Academy, and they hope the participation will greatly increase after being tied to the race.
Project Graduation is run solely by volunteer parents of graduating seniors and fully funded by donations and contributions. Over the years, statistics have shown that graduation night is one of the deadliest for young kids who may be drinking and driving. Through a safe, alcohol-free event, Cedar Park High School joins the national movement to keep their youth safe after graduation.
3M Half Marathon
Benefiting: Communities in Schools of Central Texas
January 19, 2014
The fastest half marathon in the state continues to support Communities in Schools of Central Texas, an Austin-based nonprofit that focuses on dropout prevention. With the help of a guaranteed $40,000 donation from 3M after the race, CIS will continue their work across numerous middle school and high school campuses.
Through a network of professional staff counselors, volunteers, social service organizations, businesses, and community resources, students are empowered to stay in school and achieve higher goals in life. During the last school year, an astonishing 99 percent of students referred to CIS stayed in school!
Austin Marathon & Half Marathon Presented by Freescale
Benefiting: Austin Gives Miles
February 16, 2014
The marquee event of the AFMDC takes a different approach to charitable giving, providing a platform to Central Texas nonprofits with the opportunity to advance their missions through community awareness and active fundraising. This platform—Austin Gives Miles—has 32 partners for this year. Big and small, all are locally based and help change lives in the area.
Unique to Austin Gives Miles is the chance for race participants to use their running to support one of the charities. They can help fundraise, volunteer, and promote any of the organizations through the Austin Marathon.