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Lifestyle

Work out for a good cause

October is a great month for outdoor sports in Maryland, a time when the crisp air and fall foliage make running or cycling especially enjoyable. Nonprofits have recognized the appeal of this season and created many events that give athletes a chance to swim, bike, run, walk or even kayak for a good cause.

Many races and organized bicycle rides raise money specifically for programs like scholarships and health care initiatives. Sometimes the events are for more serious athletes — triathlons and competitive running races — and sometimes they're aimed at people of all levels of fitness who just want to have fun, such as the Run for Your Lives zombie run Saturday (at Wicomico Motorsports Park in Charlotte Hall) benefiting the Kennedy Krieger Institute. (Registration closed Tuesday, but you can still support the event as a spectator.)

Whether you're running 26.1 miles, biking 62.5 miles or simply walking a mile, there's an event with a cause for you this month. Here are some close to Baltimore or worthy of a road trip.

Hero-Palooza

When and where: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oregon Ridge Park, 13401 Beaver Dam Road, Hunt Valley

Benefits the There Goes My Hero Foundation, which supports leukemia patients and their families.

What you do: Run, walk or bike. Cyclists can opt for 12-, 25- or 60-mile courses. Runners participate in a 5K, USATF Certified Course. Walkers may participate in a nontimed, family-friendly 5K walk. After the race, participants can stay for a post-race crab feast and cookout (additional $10 fee).

Sign-up: $25 includes T-shirt; theregoesmyhero.org.

Waterman's Half Triathlon

When and where: 8 a.m. Oct. 12, Smallwood State Park, 2750 Sweden Point, Marbury, Charles County

Benefits the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a watershed protection agency.

What you do: Swim in Mattawoman Bay (1.2 miles), ride a bike through rolling hills (56 miles) and run (13.1 miles).

Sign-up: Online registration closes at 8 a.m. Oct. 9. $180 individuals; $245 teams; day-of-registration is $200 individuals, $265 teams. setupevents.com.

Baltimore Running Festival

When and where: Oct. 12. Marathon starts at 8 a.m. at Russell and Camden streets. Half-marathon starts at 9:45 a.m. at Conway and Light streets, The 5K starts at 8:15 a.m. at Paca and Pratt streets. And the Kids Fun Run starts at 9:20 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. at the Chick-fil-A Kids Fun Zone (marked by white blazes on the street).

Benefits: You can run in the festival without supporting a partnered charity but if you want to raise funds for one of the 20 nonprofit partners, start by getting a list of those partners and their contact information at thebaltimoremarathon.com. Then contact the nonprofits directly to see how to join their teams. Some offer a discounted running fee and have fundraising minimums. Some have you sign up for the race independently; others ask that you sign up only through them.

What you do: Baltimore's downtown running festival includes four races. The marathon may also be run as a relay. The weekend also includes a postrace Celebration Village, including live music, games, food and drink, and a race-day crab-eating contest.

Sign-up: See each nonprofit's guidelines for race registration. If the nonprofit specifies that you should sign up through the festival's website, registration closes Sunday; the 5K was full as of press time; thebaltimoremarathon.com.

Chick-fil-A 5K Race for Truckin 4 Troops

When and where: 8 a.m. Oct. 12, Baltimore & Annapolis Trail, 8110 Jumpers Hole Road, Pasadena.

Benefits Truckin 4 Troops, a Maryland-based organization that organizes family-friendly events such as bonfires, boating and cookouts for wounded troops and their families.

What you do: Run a 5K.

Sign-up: $30 (register by 5:59 p.m. Oct 10 at active.com).

Hagerstown Duathlon and Youth Duathlon

When and where: Oct. 12, 8:30 a.m. start for youth event; 9:30 a.m. start for adults. Halfway Park, 17901 Halfway Blvd., Hagerstown.

Benefits the Cedar Ridge Children's Home, an organization that provides residential care for abused or neglected boys ages 6 to 14.

What you do: Adult race is a 2-mile run, 10-mile bike ride then 3.1 mile run. Youth race is 0.35-mile run, 2-mile bike ride, then 0.75-mile run.

Sign-up: Adults: $70; $110-$165 for relay teams. Youth race: $35. racinemultisports.com.

Law Enforcement Ride and Run to Remember

What and where: The bike ride starts at 7:15 a.m. Oct. 12 at National Harbor, Prince George's County. The run starts at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 13 at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, 400 block of F St. N.W., Washington.

Benefits the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which maintains the National Law Enforcement Memorial and runs programs and events to honor fallen officers and keep current officers safe.

What you do: Ride on Saturday or run on Sunday, or do both. Choose a 55- or 30-mile bike ride starting and ending at National Harbor, with rest stops, course help and food along the way. The run is a 5K on a closed course in downtown Washington.

Sign-up: The registration fee is $50 ($80 if you do both events), and each participant must also raise at least $72 for the fund; rideandruntoremember.org.

Save-A-Limb Ride and Festival

When and where: 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 19, Oregon Ridge Park,13401 Beaver Dam Road, Hunt Valley.

Benefits LifeBridge Health's Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics, which allocates money to assist patients with physical therapy, housing, transportation and equipment, as well as for international outreach missions to help people with orthopedic problems.

What you do: The 6-, 15-, 30- or 62.5-mile bike ride starts at Oregon Ridge Park and proceeds through the northern Baltimore County countryside. You can also participate by doing a 1-mile family fun walk. After the ride and walk, stay for a picnic, kids' events and live music.

Sign-up: $15-$75 in advance, depending on age and distance of ride; includes entry to the picnic, long-sleeve T-shirt and, for adults, a ticket for one beer at postride beer garden. Fees increase $10 to $20 on the day of the event. savealimbride.org.

Talbot Interfaith Shelter Century Fall Foliage Ride

When and where: Open start from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Oct. 19, St. Michaels School, 100 Seymour Ave., St. Michaels, Talbot County.

Benefits the Talbot Interfaith Shelter, an interfaith service organization that raises awareness of homelessness in the Talbot County community and provides safe, temporary shelter to those without adequate housing.

What you do: A choice of an 11-miles, 31-mile or 62.5-mile bike ride, followed by homemade pie for all riders and free crab balls and beer for those riding 31 or 62.5 miles.

Sign-up: $15-$70, depending on age, distance and registry date, includes a T-shirt. sheltercentury.org.

The Crop Hop

When and where: Rides start from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Oct. 19, Gilbert Run Park, 13140 Charles St., Charlotte Hall, St. Mary's County.

Benefits the Southern Maryland Food Bank, which provides bulk foods to pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and group homes throughout Southern Maryland.

What you do: There are five bike route options, from the in-park "Sprout Route," including educational and interactive farm activities for kids, to the 62.5-mile Silo Century. Longer rides include stops at farms.

Sign-up: $15-to $60, depending on the length of the ride chosen, and includes a T-shirt and postride picnic. thecrophop.com.

Run Walk Roll Against Bullying

When and where: 9 a.m., Western Regional Park, 14900 Carrs Mill Road, Woodbine, Carroll County.

Benefits the Parents' Place of Maryland, a center for families of children with special needs

What you do: 5K run, 1-mile walk or roll (for those in wheelchairs)

Sign-up: $25 by Oct. 25 ($20 for ages 19 and under); $30 on race day ($25 for ages 19 and under); children under 5 are free. T-shirt and goodie bag while supplies last. active.com.

Find your event

Check out these sites to find more nonprofit-supporting athletic opportunities:

Active.com: contains running and cycling advice, race information and links to register for races.

BikeMD.org: includes events, resources and programs for cyclists in Maryland.

MABRA.org: the website of the Mid-Atlantic Bicycle Racing Association includes information about teams, local cycling news and a list of upcoming rides.

ohbike.org the Oxon Hill Bicycle and Trail Club's website includes a list of bike-related events around Maryland and Virginia.

RoadRacePlace.com: lists details for running races by state.

RoadRaceRunner.com: an easily searchable datebase listing different lengths of races across the country.

RunningintheUSA.com: searchable by race date, location and type.

TriFind.com: an easy-to-navigate resource for running races across the country, including a state-by-state list of races.

USACycling.org: includes a list of events by state.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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