You’ve been thinking about running more. You’ve done some in the past, but it was hard to stay motivated. Sure, the right mix of songs or audio books helps pass the time, and you know you need to exercise more. But finding the motivation to get out there is just hard these days.
That’s where Erika’s Lighthouse can help. This year, you can run in the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon by joining our team and raising funds for a great cause — helping teens cope with depression and preventing teen suicide. Now, you have a great motivator to get off that couch, get in shape, and run in one of the world’s most prestigious marathons.

Get depression out of the dark!

These days, depression can hit teenagers from many directions. There are the usual bullying and feelings of abandonment or not fitting in that have plagued teens for many generations. But schools are more and more competitive, ramping up the pressure to perform better academically.
Then there’s the internet, only a cell phone away. It’s easier than ever for teens to struggle with friendships, bullying, teasing, and breakups now that emails and pics can spread to thousands of people at the touch of a button.
Other risk factors include:
  • A family history of depression
  • Having an emotionally sensitive personality
  • An ongoing medical condition, anxiety disorder or substance abuse disorder
  • Poor health due to not getting enough exercise, sleep or food
  • Loss of a loved one or ending of an important relationship
  • A stressful, dangerous or unreliable community, school or home environment
Our goal is to empower teens to seek help by getting free educational materials in the hands of schools. When you fundraise with us, you’re helping prevent suicides and bust the stigma of depression.

There are a lot of benefits to running in the marathon with us:

  • Race entry reimbursement (value of $195).
  • Multi-level group training program from Coach Mark Buciak of The Road to Boston, LLC.
  • Fundraising support and platform.
  • Team Erika’s Lighthouse race shirt.
  • Pre-race team pasta dinner.
  • Monthly prize incentives for fundraising.
  • Start to finish inspiration and encouragement from Team Erika’s Lighthouse cheerleaders.
  • Post-race team celebration.
  • A private VIP runner’s lounge on race day for bag check, private bathrooms, refreshments, stretching from personal training and a place to meet friends and family.
  • The amazing feeling of saving young lives!
We have many people that have run with us in the past and have had an amazing experience. What makes our running program stand out is the training with Coach Mark, and the VIP runner’s lounge the day of the event.

Here’s what you get while training with Coach Mark:

  • A daily individualized training schedule for a 25-week training program (others are typically 18 weeks).
  • Weekly e-mail newsletters with training tips and encouragement.
  • Weekly fundraising tips to help you achieve and surpass your fundraising goal.
  • Weekly Saturday runs and Thursday evening fun run.
  • Virtual training for those who can’t attend Saturday runs, have complicated schedules or live out of town.
  • Pre-run warm-up and stretching sessions plus the training tip of the day.
  • Post-run cool-down, stretching, core sessions and Q & A with Coach Mark.
  • Free injury screenings by physical therapists at Atletico Physical Therapy.
  • Nutritional advice for runners and healthy recipes.
  • Discounts on brand name running shoes and apparel.
  • Discounts on entry fees to important pre-marathon races and the 20 Miler Run on September 17, 2016.
  • Invitation to Pre-Season Evening Social and a Post-Season Victory Celebration.
  • Invitation to Coach Mark’s Summer Runner’s Retreat in August
Not sure whether you have what it takes? Most of our participants in the past have been first-time runners. We’re here to support you every step of the way, including in the fundraising process by providing tips and a fundraising online platform. You’re required to fundraise $1,500 for us, but we do have awards for the best fundraisers each month from May-Nov and for overall top fundraisers. We’ll share your appeals on social media. We already have one runner who has exceeded the $1,500 goal, and training hasn’t even started yet!

Here are some ways you can raise $1,500:

  • Post on Facebook
  • Post on Twitter
  • Post on Instagram
  • Email your friends & family
  • Attend networking events
  • Host a fundraising event
  • Create a text chain
  • Handwritten notes
  • Employer match
We’ve had a lot of people donate after our marathoners post on various social media outlets…people love supporting a good cause!
Still not feeling it? Feel free to browse our runners and pick someone to support!
If you are interested in running, we only have 3 spots left…the time to act is now!