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Posted: December 21, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

(RWire) Athletics: LA Marathon Unveils Expanded Charity Program for 2010

Sixty official charities to take part in 25th silver edition

LOS ANGELES - (December 17, 2009) - On the heels of unveiling the new Stadium to the Sea course for the 2010 race on March 21, LA Marathon officials have announced a larger-than-ever charity program that will aid 60 non-profit organizations raising funds for causes ranging from cancer research to gang intervention to cleaning up coastal waters.

The expanded charity program is in line with the vision of Marathon owner Frank McCourt, who believes the event has the potential to be a huge philanthropic force in the community. McCourt envisions a day when every Marathon participant will raise charitable dollars for critical environmental, community and health-related causes.

Given this long-range goal, McCourt, who last year became steward of the race, asked Marathon organizers to make the charitable component of the race a much higher priority. The result is a program that is nearly 50% larger, and significantly revamped to provide non-profits the tools and incentives to expand participation and fundraising.

"Expanding our charity program is a natural extension of our mission statement, which is 'to inspire athletes and connect communities,'" said LA Marathon President Russ Pillar. "We look forward to enabling our runners to make ever-increasing charitable contributions this coming year and in the many years ahead."

Under the direction of a new executive who is managing the charity program, participating non-profits are receiving more assistance to grow their Marathon-related fundraising efforts. For example, Marathon officials are facilitating monthly meetings at which all participating charities, large and small, can obtain guidance and support for their efforts. Long-time participants such as Team in Training and AIDS Marathon are also mentoring non-profits seeking assistance.

These efforts are all part of a culture that has drawn new participants into the fold, such as A Better L.A., a Los Angeles-based anti-violence, community-building non-profit.

USC Football Coach Pete Carroll, who co-founded A Better L.A., said: "We are very impressed with the way in which the marathon is seeking to become a powerful force for good in the community. By working together, we can ensure that young people living in the inner-city have the opportunity to dream, work and play without fear."

Another new participant is Heal the Bay, which aims to keep Southern California coastal waters safe, healthy and clean. President Mark Gold pointed out that the new Stadium to the Sea course offers a powerful reminder of the connections between Los Angeles and the ocean that has drawn so many people here.

"With the finish line just a few short blocks away from the Santa Monica pier, I can't think of a better partner than the Los Angeles Marathon to support us in our mission to protect the Santa Monica Bay," Gold said. "We're excited to work with the organizers to help green the race and increase community environmental stewardship."

Marathon officials anticipate thousands of runners will be raising funds for educational, health and other philanthropic organizations such as Team World Vision, Students Run LA and ThinkCure! Race organizers have made it easy for all Marathon runners to sign-up on a charity team as part of the online registration process.

"The LA Marathon is one of the few big events that brings the community together," said Janet Clayton, President of ThinkCure!, a Southern California-based non-profit that raises funds for cancer research. "ThinkCure is also about bringing LA together by funding collaborative cancer research right here in our community, and that's why the marathon is an important vehicle for raising money for that research - we are all dedicated to running for the cure."

To access a full list of charities and contacts, runners are encouraged to visit the LA Marathon website at www.lamarathon.com, and click the "Charities" link at the top of the homepage. A list of organizations is also attached to this press release.

"There's still time for interested runners to join a charity team and get started with training," Pillar said. "It's as easy as going to our website, finding your charity of choice and signing up."

For more information on the 25th silver edition, visit: LAMarathon.com.


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