Who invented the amateur athletics for charity drive?
September 16, 2009 6:19 AM   Subscribe

Run, walk, jump, for Charity! Who first came up with this unlikely yet popular idea?
posted by IndigoJones to Society & Culture (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The March of Dimes, which held their first March for Babies in 1970.
posted by susanvance at 6:47 AM on September 16, 2009

Man, I remember those mid-70s marches. You'd get folks to pledge a certain amount of money per mile walked, because a lot of people wouldn't actually finish the march. A lot of organizations still use the money-per-mile formula, but that seems more like marketing now. The old marches were 20-mile hikes, all-day affairs--none of this 10k wimpiness. I never finished (hey, I was a kid), but my brother did.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:00 AM on September 16, 2009

Nthing MrMoonPie. I'm sure Toronto had these in the late 60s as they used to stagger past my apt near the end of the walk. And, I think it was marathon distance - 21m? 23m?
posted by x46 at 7:05 AM on September 16, 2009

I remember walking in the first Miles for Millions – note that this was before Canada went metric – and finishing, too. That wikipedia article mentions 26 miles, this piece mentions 40. The one in Montreal was, if I recall, 36 miles. You had to get a card stamped at each checkpoint, to guarantee against cheating. I was young, but I recall hobbling for a day or two afterwards...
posted by zadcat at 8:34 AM on September 16, 2009

Hm. Difference of opinion or memory, but big claims by March of Dimes. Perhaps they ripped it off from Canada? Anyone?
posted by IndigoJones at 8:37 AM on September 16, 2009

(Caught out on preview- good work, zadcat!)
posted by IndigoJones at 8:37 AM on September 16, 2009

I was a Miles for Millions walker as well, probably 1969. In my community it was 20 miles. I remember that the route took me past my house and I popped in for bandages for my blisters and a drink of water. I was 10 and in those days it didn't occur to me to carry water with me. I wore wooden sandals. I had blisters in places I didn't know I had places.
posted by angiep at 9:09 AM on September 16, 2009

Boston's Walk for Hunger has been going on for 41 years -- that's the oldest one I can think of --
posted by nnk at 12:06 PM on September 16, 2009

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