danmarathon2.jpgBloggers are combining physical fitness with the desire to help others in a new internet tool called Train for Humanity. Their initial pilot project focuses on raising $50,000 to help rebuild the Shegegkaro school in Northern Darfur, which was recently bombed and subsequently destroyed.

Co-founders and fellow runners, Mark Hayward, Dan Clements and Leo Babauta, hope to raise money using blogs and social networks, to promote sponsorship of athletes in endurance events. Clements, an author and blogger, kicks off the fundraising effort today as he runs in the Niagara Falls International Half Marathon.

“There are so many people out there who don’t feel they can create change in their own lives, never mind in the lives of other people,” Clements said. “The fact that you can do both with Train for Humanity is what makes this so great.”

“There are thousands of blogs being created every hour of every day,” said Clements. “The potential to do good is astounding.”

Citizens around the world are urged to sign on as “everyday athletes” and compete in their own events, like triathlons or cycling races, improving their health while collecting pledges online through the website, trainforhumanity.org

“You don’t need to be an athlete,” Clements said. “You just have to want to make a difference.”

“We want to show that you don’t need to be a large humanitarian organization or spend a lot of money to make a difference,” said Hayward. “All
of the tools exist to help and with a little creativity and initiative anyone can have an impact.”

As a fundraising too, the best part is that the entire arrangement has almost zero overhead cost. One hundred percent of the proceeds raised will go directly to the Darfur Peace and Development Organization, headquartered in Washington, DC, to help orphans and displaced persons in Sudan.

“Over the past five years, more than 200,000 men, women, and children have died due to violence, malnutrition, and disease in Darfur and an additional 2.2 million people have been displaced,” said Train for Humanity creator Mark Hayward. “We want to do something about it. “

“Racing to Make a Difference,” Hayward, an ex-Peace Corps volunteer, will run in the Miami Man Triathlon on November 9th, and Babauta, the Honolulu Marathon on December 14th.

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