DEAR MISS MANNERS: I'm curious if you have an official stance on the act of soliciting donations for marathons, triathlons, etc.
Can it ever be appropriate? Does throwing a party to fund-raise for the race make it more acceptable?
It's been a lifetime dream of mine to run the Boston Marathon, but the idea of soliciting donations for something I enjoy doing seems ridiculous. Are my only options to either take another year or two (or 10) to run other races and achieve a qualifying time (non-charity runners don't need to donate), or personally save and donate the $5,000 required donation as a charity runner?
GENTLE READER: Ah, the Girl Scout Cookie Problem: love the bonfires and s'mores, not so crazy about working for free, importuning friends and relatives.
If it is any consolation, there is a long and honorable tradition of private individuals raising money for worthy causes. But there is an equally long, if less honorable, tradition of annoying one's friends with constant demands for money.
Which your friends would think you are following depends not -- as is too often assumed -- on the purity of your cause, but on the aggressiveness of your tactics. If you do choose to fund-raise, Miss Manners recommends a dignified and restrained approach.