Run for Our Troops!

The Marine Corps Marathon and New York City Marathon may be sold out, but you can still run in the nation’s biggest marathons with Team USO! As part of Team USO, you have the opportunity to fundraise and make your miles count for our troops and their families.

When you run with Team USO, the money you raise helps the USO provide our service members with a taste of home when they are thousands of miles away from loved ones. With so many deployed and far from home, it’s important to show our troops and their families how thankful we are for their service and sacrifice. The money Team USO raises goes to support USO programs like USO Warrior and Family Care, USO Operation Phone Home and Operation USO Care Package.

In return for your commitment, you will receive a guaranteed spot in the race, fundraising toolkits and support from a fundraising professional to help meet your fundraising goal, personalized training support and an invitation to an exclusive Team USO pasta dinner.

In addition, with the money you raise for Team USO, you get exclusive USO race gear as a reward for your efforts!

When You Make Your Miles Count for the Troops, You Get:

Amt Raised

Incentive

Included Team USO Singlet
$300 TEAM USO t-shirt
$750 TEAM USO Water Bottle
$1,000 TEAM USO MP3 armband
$1,500 TEAM USO performance running hat
$2,000 TEAM USO fleece
$3,000 USO canvas backpack
$5,000. American Flag flown over Afghanistan

Spots are limited for the Marine Corps Marathon and the New York City Marathon, so register now on the Team USO website by Friday, August 3! If you have any questions, please call 703-740-4939.

Join Team USO today to show your support and make your miles count for our troops! - Sarah Camille Hipp, USO Communications Specialist

Cake Decorator Raises Dough for USO

Chris with one of his masterpieces!

Meet Chris Kasparek, the cake boss of Naples, Italy.

He’s a Navy civilian, marathon runner and cake designer extraordinaire.  And he’s putting all his talents to work for the USO.

Kasparek hadn’t planned on running a marathon this year, but a few months ago he saw a Facebook post about Team USO and decided he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to compete for a good cause.

“I had run three [marathons] in the last five years and had felt my body just wasn’t up for it,” he said, “And then I saw the link and was inspired.”

Team USO has a limited number of guaranteed registrations for the New York City marathon for runners who raise a minimum of $3,000.  Slots are also available for the Marine Corps marathon, with a fundraising requirement of $1,200 and the Air Force marathon with a $700 requirement.

Kasparek, the Navy’s director of child and youth programs in Naples, will compete in the New York City event, and he knew exactly how he would raise the dough. He put out the word to friends and colleagues, offering one of his famous custom cakes in exchange for a contribution.

The 37-year-old husband and father of two first started baking cakes for his children’s birthday parties, carrying on a tradition passed down by his father.

“My dad had decorated our cakes when we were kids growing up… I watched him and it was just like, ‘I want to do that for my kids.’  They’ve already said they want to do it for their kids.” 

You name it, he’s baked it—pirates and princesses, penguins and ponies, and every imaginable superhero.

So far, Kasparek has raised $3,360 for the USO, with about $700 coming from his cakes.  He’s hoping to push past the $4,000 mark by race time.

He’s been passionate about the USO since working with them last year after the deadly earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  He was sent to the Seattle airport to help coordinate child care for Japanese families who’d been evacuated to the U.S., and he was immediately impressed by the USO’s efficiency and compassion.

“Through their communications avenues, donations were coming in—diapers, food for the babies, games, coloring books, just everything that would make these families comfortable as they arrived from Japan… Whatever we needed, they found a way to get for us.”

Kasparek feels it’s his turn to give back to the USO and the troops.

He recently added a weight loss challenge to his fundraising efforts.  He’s trying to shed 35 pounds by race time.  If he doesn’t lose it all, he’ll pay back part of your pledge and cover the difference himself.

“I’ve slowed down on the cakes so I can concentrate on training,” said Kasparek, “Cakes don’t help training.” - Malini Wilkes , USO Director of Story Development

Be a Team USO Athlete

Have you ever wanted to support the troops and their families but didn’t know how? Are you a runner? Have you heard of Team USO? I think it’s about time you have! Team USO was developed as a response to people like you looking for new and fun ways to support our troops.  Through Team USO, we provide great resources for athletes and supporters to serve out mission on the ground.

Team USO athletes post-race

Team USO athletes are able to race all over the world while raising money for our troops. Whether you are already signed up for a race or planning on your next one, Team USO can help. If you choose your own event you can set your own fundraising goal. If you are trying to get into a sold-out race, though, we offer guaranteed race entries in exchange for a minimum fundraising goal!

When you join Team USO, you aren’t alone. We provide a wealth of resources and some great looking gear! As a member the USO will support you in whatever ways possible, like:

  • Fundraising toolkits
  • Support from a fundraising professional
  • Training support—training calendar, mentoring
  • Mission Moments—help you connect with troops and military families to participate in honor of
  • Prizes for reaching certain fundraising levels

Online registration is now open for the 2012 Honda LA Marathon to be held on Sunday, March 18. This is one of the largest road races in the world and the race is expected to sell out. Runners can secure their spot on the starting line by registering here. Just 25 spots are available for Team USO.

We are also proud to be among the New York Road Runners’ official charity partners for the 2012 New York City Half-Marathon! We only have 15 race registrations available so click here to register today.

Help lift the spirits of our troops and their families by joining Team USO today and get to work tomorrow! – Joe Scannell, USO New Media Intern