I have been a part of Team in Training for almost two years now. I started when I moved to a new town after graduating from college--partially to meet new people and partially to get into the Nike Women's Half Marathon, which is notoriously hard to get into. After the first season, I was hooked!
I have been a mentor with TNT for the past three seasons now and love being a part of each season's team. Team in Training participants train for marathons, half marathons, century rides, and triathlons while simultaneously raising money for LLS.
The fundraising involved with Team in Training is a significant part of the experience-- if you are not interested in fundraising very much, I wouldn't recommend TNT! Fundraising minimums that I have seen start around $1000 and go up from there, depending on where the race is! However, once you fundraise, your airfare (if the race requires travel by air), hotel and race entry are paid for.
$1000+ may sound like a lot of money to fundraise in 4-6 months, and I was TERRIFIED at first that I would end up having to contribute a lot myself in that first season, but one of the best things a TNT staff member told me was that you are not asking for money for yourself, you are asking for a donation for an amazing cause. So many people that you never expected to donate will appear out of the woodwork-- people will surprise you with their generosity! Not only will you get donations, but your friends and acquaintances will tell you their stories of how they or their family has been affected by blood cancer.
The best part of fundraising alongside others is that the mentors, coaches and TNT coordinators will help arrange group fundraisers-- my favorite team events were our bake sales and restaurant nights!
I can say that running with a team DEFINITELY was the number one reason that I was able to survive my marathon. If I hadn't had people to run with (and chat while we run!) for those loooong training runs, I would have been much more likely to wimp out. Knowing that my running buddies were there waiting for me definitely got me up and out of bed on those early Saturday mornings! Typically, a team will run the long runs together on the weekend, but everyone is on their own for the weekday runs. However, I made so many great running buddies that I often had someone to run with on weekdays if I wanted!
During the actual race, Team in Training coaches are stationed along the course in sections, i.e. one coach will be assigned miles 1-3 or 4-6, etc. You never have to go more than a few miles without seeing a coach who is looping back to join you for a mile or two! It is great to know that even if you don't have a big posse of family or friends who were able to come to the race, all of the coaches will be on the course to support you and get you through the long miles of the race. Furthermore, when they see you in your purple Team in Training jersey, spectators will cheer “GO TEAM!” all along the course.
Team in Training has been an amazing part of my running life. Not only do I love raising money that will hopefully someday find a cure for blood cancers, but I love running with a team and working towards a common goal. People of all fitness levels have been on my team, but it does not matter-- everyone gets along well and supports each other in their training.
If you are thinking of participating in a marathon, half marathon, triathlon, or century ride and are looking for a support system to help get you through, I recommend you consider Team in Training!