I admit, I’m a frequent flyer mile junkie. I am a member of every hotel, airline, rental car and restaurant program out there. I will go out of my way to book a flight on a carrier I know is giving me miles, even if it’s a few dollars more than one. I guess I love the thrill of earning points.
Today (June 6) is National Running Day and a company called Charity Miles has a free app for iPhone and Android that, yes, lets you earn “miles” for running, biking, or even walking! Whatever you earn turns into a donation for a great charity. It’s a brilliant idea that taps into that part of us all who need to exercise but need instant gratification rather than waiting for an elusive “endorphin rush” or enjoying “better health” in weeks and months ahead.
Here’s how the app works. You start the app up and then pick a charity. Currently, here are the charities that are part of the app: Achilles
International (www.achillesinternational.org); Autism Speaks (www.autismspeaks.org); Feeding America (www.feedingamerica.org); The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (www.theglobalfund.org); Habitat for Humanity (www.habitat.org); The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (www.michaeljfox.org; The Nature Conservancy (www.nature.org); Pencils of Promise (www.pencilsofpromise.org); and The United Nations World Food Programme (www.wfp.org).
Then, you just run, walk, or bike. That’s it. For every mile you run or walk you earn 25 cents. For every mile you bike, you earn 10 cents. All of the miles of all the people using this app will be pooled together, and Charity Miles, LLC, will fund the donations up to $1,000,000. They’re also seeking out corporate sponsors who’ll be able to pony up money in case the total donations go over that amount.
Thanks to the World Food Programme who informed me about this app. They are in the midst of an increasingly dire hunger crisis in the Sahel region of West Africa, where we are working to avert life-threatening famine for some 10 million people. Kenyan marathon legend, NY City Marathon winner and World Food Programme Ambassador Against Hunger, Paul Tergat, says about the app “I think this Charity Miles app is a great idea. Runners like me can help end hunger with the World Food Programme. I grew up with school lunches from WFP- they changed my life. Let’s do the same for more children!”