Publication Date

Summer 2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Ted M. Butryn


cause-based, charitable, marathon, motivation, runner, training

Subject Areas



In the late 1980s, the nonprofit sector within the United States introduced a new philanthropic paradigm, the cause-based fundraising endurance-training program. Participants in such programs raise funds for a charitable cause and, in return, are coached to complete a marathon or other endurance event.

Cause-based training programs frequently use recruitment messages implying that the cause provides a guaranteed motivation to exercise. However, little research has examined this assumption. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to qualitatively research the motivations of runners in a charitable cause-based marathon-training program, particularly the relationship between the cause and the participants' motivations to train consistently. Results suggested that for most study participants, the cause became increasingly significant and meaningful as the program progressed, even for those who joined with no initial connection. These results may be significant both for cause-based training programs and for interventions to help increase general levels of physical activity.