14 Vancouver-area running races that give back to charity

Sep 20 2019, 8:00 am

There’s more to running than seeking a personal best.

Lots of people run for someone they love, lost, or they simply want to give back. Luckily, there are many opportunities to get a sweat on and make a difference here in the Lower Mainland.

Climb for Alzheimers

Instagram: @climbforalzheimers

Hike up a mountain for Alzheimers on September 29th. Climb for Alzheimers raises money for the Alzheimer Society of BC. This organization ensures that people living with dementia will continue to be supported by vital programs and services they provide. If you don’t want to hoof it up 2,830 steps, they also have the Summit Stroll option where you can take the sights and sounds atop Grouse Mountain without the sweat.

Register here.

Butterfly Run

Instagram: @butterflyrunvancouver

The Butterfly Run is a memorial 5k/2k run or walk for those who have experienced miscarriage, infant loss or infertility. The event helps to raise awareness around pregnancy loss and benefits BC Women’s Hospital. While it is sold out this year, keep it on your radar in 2020 or head to the Creekside Community Centre on October 5th to show your support.

More info here.

CIBC Run for the Cure

Instagram: @runforthecure_vancouver

Held in multiple cities nationwide on October 6th, the CIBC Run for the Cure always draws a large crowd to walk, run and raise money for breast cancer research. Bring your friends and family, get out your pink feather boas, and run 1 or 5 km to help the Canadian Cancer Society generate funds for breast cancer research.

Register for the Vancouver run here.

Moustache Miler

Instagram: @moustachemiler

Let’s move for Movember! Whether you can grow a moustache or sport a fake one, join the Moustache Miler in their efforts to raise money for the Movember Foundation. It is a family-friendly 1-mile and 5k race at Stanley Park on November 23rd. Run one race or both and raise money to fund prostate and testicular cancer research as well as mental health and suicide prevention programs. Costumes are highly encouraged!

Register here.

RunGo Dash for Dogs

Instagram: @dashthemin

If you love to run with your dog, this is the race for you. Next year, you and your well-behaved doggos should check out RunGo Dash for Dogs and run a 2k, 5k or 10k route through the Stanley Park trails. All proceeds benefit the BC and Alberta Guide Dogs. If you raise enough money yourself, you can sponsor a puppy which might eventually be a guide dog, autism support dog, or PTSD service dog for a deserving person. After the race, you can mingle with other dog lovers over pancakes. Puppies and Pancakes. What more do I need to say?

More info here.

UBC Run for Rural Medicine

Instagram: @winniejyli

When our future doctors aren’t studying for finals, they are organizing events for charity. The students of UBC’s Faculty of Medicine created the UBC Run for Rural Medicine. Run a 5 or 10k route along the scenic Jericho Beach with all proceeds going to Hope Air. Hope Air gives people in financial need living in rural areas free medical travel assistance so they can get treatment. If you want to support their mission for accessible medical care, keep an eye out for this race in 2020.

More info here.

Daffodil Dash

Instagram: @daffodildashvan

A springtime tradition, the Daffodil Dash is a 1k and 5k along the False Creek Seawall. Runners all clad in yellow run to support the Canadian Cancer Society. Their mission is to eradicate the more than 100 types of cancer they are funding research for, as well as help people living with cancer have a more comfortable life. There’s even a mini dash for the kids so bring the whole family.

More info here.

Wings for Life World Run

Instagram: @vanrunco

A race where the finish line chases you? That’s the Wings for Life World Run. Happening simultaneously at 11 AM UTC (that’s 4 AM here) in multiple cities all over the world, runners race a virtual Catcher car on a looped course until they get caught. The next Wings for Life run is in May 2020 and you’ll have to download their app to sign up. 100% of your registration fee will go towards spinal cord research via the Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation. Kitsilano running store Vancouver Running Company helped organize this event in 2019 so keep an eye on their socials for info about next year’s event.

More info here.

Under Armour Eastside 10k

Canada Running Series West, photo by Ben Owens

A local favourite, the Under Armour Eastside 10K supports 3 Downtown Eastside charity partners: the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, PHS Community Services Society, and YouthCo. The 10k route runs through historic Gastown streets and neighbourhoods with a lot of character. The competition may be fierce, but it’s all about supporting the East Van community.

More info here.

Run for Water

Instagram: @runforwater

The Run for Water events have something for everyone. Whether you’re a road runner, trail runner or even a cyclist, people of all abilities are able to participate. Run distances range from a 5k fun run to a 50k ultramarathon, so you can choose your challenge. At the same time, fundraising for clean water is the ultimate goal. All donations made through their races go directly to clean water projects in Ethiopia.

More info here.

RBC Race for the Kids

Instagram: @bcchf

This annual fun run put on by the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation has raised over $14 million since it’s inception 34 years ago. The 2k and 5k run is held at Queen Elizabeth Park and every dollar raised goes towards childhood cancer research and children’s mental health initiatives.

More info here.

Run for H2O

Instagram: @runforh2ovan

Where there’s water, there’s life. For the past 7 years, the Run for H2O supported areas in developing countries by funding sustainable clean water projects. This year, alongside Hope International Development Agency, it was a village called Cosibal in Guatemala that benefited from runners’ generous donations. The 5k and 10k run is held at Riverfront Park in South Vancouver. For some added cuteness, there’s even a 50 metre toddler dash. Definitely fun for the whole family.

More info here.

Multi-Grouse Grind Challenge

Instagram: @bcchf

Most people tend to do the Grouse Grind once and then grab a beer at the top. Once a year, people climb it as many times as they can in one day for charity. Athletes wishing to attempt the Multi-Grouse Grind Challenge must raise a minimum of $200 for BC Children’s Hospital before they are allowed to participate. The current record is 19 ascents, think you can you beat it? Do something epic for the kids!

More info here.

Terry Fox Run

Instagram: @terryfoxfoundation

This run needs no introduction. Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope lives on in the thousands who participate in the many Terry Fox Run events held in the Lower Mainland. Typically occurring on the second Sunday after Labour Day, runners raise money for the Terry Fox Foundation, whose goal is to fund innovative cancer research.

More info here.