Looking for a way to promote fitness and raise a few bucks at the same time? Parent groups across the country hosted 5K runs in fall 2010, drawing local fitness fanatics and casual joggers alike. Many groups work with race promoters or running clubs that help with event logistics. Here are some of the ways PTOs made their events stand apart from the pack of other charity runs.

Clever Names

A catchy name can go a long way in marketing an event. Many parent groups find inspiration from their school mascots. The Roaring Lion Run, held in Adamstown, Md., benefited the Carroll Manor Elementary PTA and featured an appearance by the lion mascot. A Sunbury, Ohio, race called the Big Nut Strut raised money for three PTOs in the Big Walnut Local School District. Texas runners could join the Cougar Prowl, organized by the Running Brushy Middle School PTA in Cedar Park, or the Hexter Howl, benefiting Hexter Elementary in Dallas.

Student Runners

It also helps to offer students some incentives to participate. A smoothie company sponsored the Roaring Lion Run at Carroll Manor Elementary. The PTA leveraged this sponsorship to encourage student involvement: The class with the highest rate of participation in the event won a free smoothie party.

The Wake County, N.C., PTA Council offered grants to PTAs at schools with the highest participation in its race, the Healthy Lifestyles 5K. It also gave away scholarships from a tutoring company that sponsored the event.

Interested in planning your own run/walk fundraiser? Read “Organizing a Fun Run” for tips.