DULUTH, MN-- Thousands of people come from across the world to participate in Grandma's Marathon every year seeking various goals.
Some take on the race for the challenge, to stay in shape, or even just for fun. But for others, it's about giving back to the community.
Every year, Ben Alcorn makes the long haul from Marshall, Minnesota, to Duluth.
What started off as an annual visit to his family, quickly turned into a new lifestyle.
"Decided I was going to use this as an opportunity to start running," said Alcorn.
He started running in Grandma's Marathon 13-years ago. After the first three years, his trek to a healthier lifestyle evolved into something greater.
"We started the journey with the Ronald McDonald House back in 2012," said Alcorn.
For 10-years he has opted to run for marathon charity partners. "I was running with some friends who had stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in the Twin Cities while their son was going through a procedure."
He started his journey by donating that money to the Ronald McDonald House. This year, it has come full circle.
"I remember it being such an impact support system for their experience. I was like I wanted to run for that," said Alcorn.
A brand new Ronald McDonald House recently opened its doors in Duluth. It's Northland's first facility and managers are grateful for runners raising funds.
Program Manager for the Ronald McDonald House Northland, Tara Gallagher said, "it's such a great thing that these runners recognize the service that we do and how it supported the families, and the greater community."
As a part of his everyday job, Alcorn deeply relates to the needs of community-based organizations.
He said, "we rely solely on the donation of others and for me to be able to raise up some funds for those organizations, I understand how it goes, how impact they are."
The funds that Alcorn raises will be distributed among the Ronald McDonald House Upper Midwest Chapter.
Gallagher said the money will be put to good use. "Maintain operations, provide meals every night, weekend brunches, program activities."
Alcorn said running for charity gives him the motivation he otherwise lacked, and a cause he can pour his heart into while hitting the pavement.
"When you're doing it for another cause it kind of takes you out of the equation," said the veteran runner.
Alcorn is running the half-marathon this year and says he's not in the race to compete but rather to complete.
His goal is to raise as much money as possible.
You can donate to Alcorn's charity fund or to the Ronald McDonald House Charities here.