Cottonwood runners
Cottonwood runners

Join Cottonwood Runners for the 2019 Long Beach Marathon and make a difference in our city!

Benefits of Joining Cottonwood Runners

When you join Cottonwood Runners this summer, you’ll be part of an official Long Beach Marathon charity team that brings together walkers, runners, and cyclists, of all skill levels and backgrounds, to do life together, serve together, and make a difference in our city. You’ll train to complete the Long Beach Marathon while raising funds to support Grateful Hearts, a non-profit agency that helps meet the basic physical needs of those who are hurting in our local cities and abroad. Whether you’re a seasoned runner, or this is your first time participating in a race or raising funds, you’ll be part of a team that will help, support, and encourage you every step of the way.

As a Cottonwood Runner, you’ll have the opportunity to be a light on the course amongst thousands of race participants and spectators on race day. In addition, you’ll get:

  • Guaranteed Long Beach Marathon race registration
  • Weekend team training sessions
  • Mid-week small group training meet-ups
  • Support and advice from experienced runners, group leaders, and fellow team members for runners, walkers, and cyclists of ALL levels
  • VIP access to our private team tent and course support on race weekend
  • Fundraising prizes

Ready to Join?

1. Register and/or Come to the Info Meeting

You must register through us to participate in the Long Beach Marathon as part of the Cottonwood Runners charity team. Registration fee varies by race type. After you register, be sure to check your confirmation email for important instructions.

Registration Opens: June 8, 2019
Early Registration Discount Ends: June 16, 2019
Registration Closes: July 13, 2019

Whether this is your first race or one of many, we want you to be in the know! Come to the Info Meeting on Friday, June 14 at 6:30pm, in the Chapel (Building A). At the info meeting, you’ll learn what to expect during this season, and we’ll answer any questions you may have.

2.Create Your Fundraising Page

During the registration process, you’ll be prompted to create a fundraising page through the Grassrootz fundraising platform website. We encourage you to invite family, friends, and coworkers to give towards our fundraising campaign by sharing your Grassrootz page link.

3. Join us for Training!

Cottonwood Runners has developed a 16-week training plan to prepare you for the marathon.

Training begins: June 29, 2019
Training ends: October 13, 2019

For extra accountability and support, we encourage you to join a midweek small group training meet-up. You can run, walk, or cycle at your own pace. Join us!

16 Week Training Plan

Small Group Training Meet-Ups

As a Cottonwood Runner, you’re encouraged to join a small group training meet-up during the week. Training meet-ups provide community, support, and accountability with training and fundraising, in addition to our Saturday morning team trainings.

A schedule of available training meet-ups will be emailed to you after completing your race registration and fundraising page. You can simply show up to the meet-up that works best with your schedule and location.


Here are the most commonly asked questions about Cottonwood Runners. Click a category below to find your answers.

General Information

What is Cottonwood Runners?
Cottonwood Runners is a group of runners, walkers, and cyclists of all skill levels who make a difference in our city and raise awareness and support for organizations that help those in need. We do this by serving our city together and participating in the Long Beach Marathon as an official charity. This year, we are supporting and raising funds for Grateful Hearts, a non-profit agency that helps meet the basic physical needs of those who are hurting in local cities and abroad.

What is Grateful Hearts?
Grateful Hearts is a 501 C (3) Welfare Corporation, committed to hunger relief and extending a hand-up to those in need. Visit:

What is involved in participating with Cottonwood Runners?
Cottonwood Runners register to run, walk, or bike the Long Beach Marathon and raise funds through family, friends and co-workers, to support Grateful Hearts. An optional sixteen week group training program is available to our registered participants. We encourage Cottonwood Runners to join a midweek small group training meet-up for fellowship, support and accountability with training and fundraising. Cottonwood Runners may choose to train on their own, but we do encourage building community and sharing the experience with others.

Do I have to raise money?
One of the main objectives of Cottonwood Runners’ participation in the Long Beach Marathon is to fundraise for organizations that help local and global communities. Along with your registration, there is a minimum fundraising requirement of $250 per person to participate in Cottonwood Runners. Cottonwood Runners have until October 31, 2019 to raise the $250 minimum.

What if I don’t fundraise the $250 minimum?
We encourage you to begin fundraising early, and to seek the help of Cottonwood Runners leaders and fellow runners. We also encourage you to click on the “Fundraising” tab on our website, for fundraising tips and ideas. Alternatively, you can make up the difference by donating to your own fundraising page. You can donate to your fundraiser by placing a check or cash in a Cottonwood Church giving envelope and placing it in the offering buckets during service, or the offering slot at the Welcome Center. You MUST include a “RUNNERS DONATION FORM” with any checks or cash. The form can be downloaded here or obtained from Cottonwood Runners leaders or Cottonwood Outreach staff.

How are the funds raised by Cottonwood Runners used?
Funds raised will help fund Grateful Hearts’ daily operations as well as their efforts to provide food, clothing, household items and furnishings to those in need in our local cities and abroad.

Do you need to be an avid runner to participate?
No, participants of all skill levels are welcome. In fact, we’ve had many first timers join us and successfully complete their first race. From beginner to experienced runner, walker, or cyclist, we will work with you to reach your goal of crossing the finish line!

Can friends and family participate in the finish line activities on race day?
Family and friends are encouraged to cheer for you at the finish line and volunteer at the event and/or our water station! They are welcome to meet you at the Cottonwood Runners charity tent to congratulate you, but will not be allowed to partake in the food and refreshments.

To volunteer, email

Can my child participate and run with me?
Participants must be at least 14 years of age with parent’s permission. Parent must complete registration for each minor, which will include signing the minor’s waiver electronically.

What if I cannot run the date after I have already registered?
The registration fee is nonrefundable. Because this is a fundraiser, you will still be responsible for raising the minimum of $250 by race day whether you run or not.

Online Transactions

Is my information secure?
All online transactions are being processed by Grassrootz. Please refer to their security and privacy information pages for additional information.

Online Fundraising

How do I fundraise?
During your race registration on the Grassrootz website, you will be prompted to create your fundraising page. We recommend setting up your page soon after you register (i.e. add a photo, personalize it, etc.). We encourage you to invite family, friends, and coworkers to give towards our fundraising campaign by sharing your Grassrootz page link.

What is Grassrootz?
Grassrootz is a cost-effective online fundraising website for personal fundraisers, non-profit fundraising and event fundraising.

How do I create a Grassrootz page?
A Grassrootz fundraising page will be created during the registration process.

Offline Fundraising

Who are checks written out to?
Checks are written out to Cottonwood Church. The memo section should state Cottonwood Runners and the First and Last Name of the runner being supported.

Where do I turn in check and cash donations?
You can turn them in to Cottonwood Church in the offering buckets or the offering slot at the Welcome Center. You MUST include a “RUNNERS DONATION FORM” with any checks or cash. The forms can be downloaded here or obtained from the Cottonwood Runners Staff.

Will my cash/check donations show up on my Grassrootz page?
Yes, as long as the cash/check donation is turned in with the Runners Donation Form. Please allow 3-5 business days for cash/check donations to be posted to your Grassrootz page.

Will my donors who give me cash donations receive a receipt?
Yes, turn in a completed Runners Donation Form along with the cash and a receipt will be sent to them.

Team Training

What if I can’t make it to Saturday team training?
We encourage you to join a mid-week small group training meet-up regularly and to come to Saturday training when you are able to. Consistent training will not only help you physically prepare for the race, but we believe you’ll have a better experience overall with the support, accountability, and fellowship of the Cottonwood Runners community. If you happen to skip several trainings, we encourage you to attend a small group training meet-up, and/or Saturday training, and talk to one of our Cottonwood Runners leaders so they can help you plan how to get back on track with training.

Can I train with the team on Saturdays with a stroller?
The JetBlue Long Beach Marathon will allow you to run the race with a stroller. However, we do not allow strollers during Cottonwood Runners Saturday trainings.

Can I bring a guest to training?
The first two Saturday trainings (June 29 & July 6) are designated as guest weeks for anyone who may want to check it out before registering. After that, Saturday training is reserved for registered Cottonwood Runners only. However, you may bring guests at any time to the midweek small group training meet-ups.

Do we train if it rains?
We will train rain or shine! Any changes or cancellations to our Saturday training at the Cottonwood Church campus will be communicated via email and/or social media.

Small Group Training Meet-Ups

What are Cottonwood Runners small group training meet-ups about?
Cottonwood Runners training meet-ups are designed to provide support and accountability to runners, walkers and cyclists, during the week, in a smaller group setting. Small group training meet-ups will be led by experienced Cottonwood Runners who will provide support and accountability with training, fundraising, etc.

How do I join a training meet-up?
A schedule of available training meet-ups will be emailed to Cottonwood Runners after completing their race registration and fundraising page. You can simply show up to the meet-up that works best with your schedule and location.

Do I have to join a training meet-up?
You don’t have to join a training meet-up, but we highly encourage you to; community support and accountability are very important in the training process!

What training meet-up should I join?
You may join any of the available training meet-ups.

What if none of the groups work with my schedule or location?
If none of the groups work with your schedule or location, we encourage you to form a small group training meet-up with fellow Cottonwood Runners. Come to Saturday training to connect with fellow Cottonwood Runners who may become your training buddies during the week!


We want you to be successful in obtaining supporters and sponsors to help with your fundraising efforts. Here’s a few fundraising tips:

Have you reflected on your personal reasons for training for and running the race? Is the marathon a personal goal or challenge? Has the training process helped you grow in faith? Are you running for health/fitness reasons? All of the above?

Share that with potential donors/sponsors; give them a glimpse of your heart, and extend the opportunity to partner with you to support Grateful Hearts.

Writing and sending personalized/individual emails or messages to friends/family/coworkers has been more helpful than mass emails or general social media posts (not that there’s anything wrong with that!).

If you need help with a template for the messages/emails, please email for assistance.

You may also consider:

  • Hosting a fundraising event in your home, i.e. BBQ, dinner, arts & crafts night, painting night, etc.
  • Reaching out to local restaurants about their fundraising opportunities.
  • Reaching out to local businesses to partner with you to raise funds.
  • Baking or purchasing treats in bulk and selling them.

We want to help you extend the opportunity to others to be a blessing to Grateful Hearts in whatever way we can.

If you don’t know your Grassrootz page link, please email and we will provide it for you.

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Cottonwood Church / 4505 Katella Avenue, Los Alamitos, CA 90720 / 714.947.5375