Better Living Through Big Data

Run Across America for Charity Miles

Taylor Bloom iQ Sports and Tech Contributor, SportTechie
Runner on gravel road

Discover the app that makes sure endorphins aren’t the only happy benefit of your workout.

As we’ve seen with the recent success of the Ice Bucket Challenge, people are more willing to take part in a charitable cause if it’s fun and addresses a meaningful issue. In this case, the issue was ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

As of September 3, The ALS Association has received $109.4 million in donations, compared to $2.2 million during roughly the same time period last year (July 29 to August 21).

The Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon has clearly become a viral success. But combining fun activities with charity has long been an effective method of raising money for charity. For example, running to raise money for cancer research and other charitable causes is something millions of people have participated in.

But what if you could donate to charity while still getting in your regular exercise and fitness activities?

Enter philanthropic exercise-tracking app Charity Miles.

Work Out for a Cause

With Charity Miles, anyone can become a sponsored athlete. All users have to do is walk, run or cycle — inside or outside — to earn money for a charity of their choice. Cyclists earn 10 cents per mile, and walkers and runners earn 25 cents for every mile. They app is funded by a sponsorship pool and donations go to one of 30 non-profits, including Nature Conservancy, Ironman Foundation, Feeding America and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

The app itself is simple to use and allows participants to join teams of charitable exercisers to see their collective impact. And because the Charity Miles platform exists on Android and iOS, users can seamlessly fold it into their pre-existing workout routines.

Charity Miles recently announced a partnership with Humana, a for-profit US-based health care company that markets and administers health insurance, and Anna Judd, who is running across America for the app.

Judd’s journey is a remarkable one that started on March 22 in Venice Beach. She runs 40 miles a day, 6 days a week, for the Face America Project, which uses art, music, video, public demonstrations, photography and writing to confront and illuminate problems that are facing America.

Judd’s goal is to raise awareness about problems that veterans are enduring.

“After completing the 3,200-mile trek, I will be carrying 22 rocks (about 10 pounds) to signify the 22 veterans who commit suicide every day,” said Judd. “I believe that it is our duty as Americans (and as human beings) to carry with us the heavy burden of this loss, and commit to finding the causes and solutions to this devastating problem.”

Judd prepared for this Forrest Gump-esque run by training three to six hours a day for eight months. To get her body ready, she practiced running, yoga, weightlifting, stretching, healthy nutritional habits and willpower.

In addition to her use of Charity Miles, she will also be relying on a mobile app called Hang w/ to live broadcast her run every day. Hang w/ allows users to launch quick live-streaming sessions, and Judd can be seen making her way across America at specific times throughout the day. That way, if you don’t want to run next to Anna for 40 miles per day you can join her virtually along her journey.

So, the next time you hit the treadmill, walk along the beach or go on a weekend hike, why not donate to charity while you’re at it? You don’t have to go as far (literally) as Anna Judd, but the Charity Miles app is an excellent way to make all of our exercise accomplishments a little more meaningful for those in need.

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