Marathon Fascism

Unpopular opinion time: I don’t like giving money to people doing marathons for charity.

Oof. I know, right?

I don’t know when exactly this started becoming a thing, but it’s a thing. Way back when you had the marathon and that was about it. You’d sponsor your teacher or something and the whole affair would only set you back about £10 or so.

But now it seems everyone is at it. It’s probably just that most of the people I know are twenty-somethings in the peak of their physical fitness, but there’s loads of them. And they all want my money.

It’s not financially feasible to sponsor every request, especially when you work in a large office full of fit, active people. You just can’t do it.

This puts you in an awkward position too. I can only give so much to charity and I inevitably have to pick and choose who I’ll sponsor (and I do sponsor them, I’d hasten to add). This means I’m literally putting a financial stake on how much I value someone’s friendship, breaking the unspoken kayfabe that we all selflessly adore each other. And I hate awkward.

“Richard, it’s all for a good cause! Why do you hate charity?”

I don’t hate charity. I just prefer to give sensibly.

That’s why I always donate via GiveWell. With some charities being many many times more effective than others, it only makes sense to allocate resources to the most efficient. I’d be a lot happier sponsoring your Race for Life run if Race for Life didn’t spend so much on advertising, for instance.

Compare the Against Malaria Foundation for example, which has a pretty basic website, demonstrating all the donations they receive go towards life-saving mosquito net. Or how GiveDirectly are completely transparent with where your money goes. More of that, please!

Why “marathon fascism” though? Well, it sounded like a catchy title and googling it didn’t return any results. It’s probably a bit strong, but I kind of needed to rant.

I was also going to say something about my misgivings about Race for Life being a female-only event. But I checked my ciswhiteheteromale privilege and decided it wouldn’t be good.

In summary: I’m running the marathon this year and please give generously.

Disagree with me:

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