Human Race group


For the 38th year in a row, the Santa Cruz County Human Race Walkathon and Fun Run is back in action with 125 teams powering this crowd-sourced fundraising extravaganza.

Hosted by the fabulous folks at the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County, this event has grown into the most successful Human Race in California. Not only are teams reaching more donors and making more money each year, but they are having more fun doing it.

What’s driving this success?

It turns out there is some cool science behind the giving phenomena.  Giving not only makes you feel better, it leaves you with the perception of more free time and it makes you feel more connected.


Helper’s High


If you are looking for a healthy pick me up, donate to the Human Race.

Helper’s High, a term coined by researchers, is free, safe, legal and approved for all ages! Researchers found that making a donation to a cause one cares about triggers the reward center in the brain responsible for dopamine-mediated euphoria. Helper’s High is a distinct physical sensation. Participants in one study report they felt stronger and more energetic after helping others, and many also reported feeling calmer and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth. The effect is so powerful that people who give and volunteer regularly live longer, are happier, are healthier, and feel less chronic pain.

“On race day, there is no doubt that giving feels good,” notes Mariah Tanner, Director of Community Development for the Volunteer Center and Director of the Human Race. “The Human Race is all about making it easy and fun for people to do good for their community, and for many it’s their first giving experience.”

Human Race Finisher banner


Feel like you never have enough time? Giving to the Human Race can help.


It’s a problem so common it may qualify as a new American epidemic: We’ve got no time. Overwhelmed by work, family obligations, and the fast-paced nature of a run-ragged world, many Americans — especially working adults, parents of young children, and those with college degrees, according to polls — feel strapped for time and are leading less happy lives as a result.

New research by Zoë Chance, at the Yale University School of Management, Michael I. Norton, at Harvard Business School and Cassie Mogilner at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School have a surprising solution to this problem: Spend some time helping others!

Those who donated time felt more time affluent than those who wasted time, gained a sudden windfall of free time, or lavished extra time on themselves by reading a book or getting a pedicure. “Spending time on another,” the paper concludes, “seemingly expanded the future. The reason: Doing something for someone else makes people feel effective and useful.

“We’re asking people to Be a Star for our Community in the Human Race because every minute you invest creates real solutions for our community. By bringing together 125 important local causes and providing people with the tools to engage as donors, fundraisers, or volunteers, all in one place, the Human Race creates a huge marketplace for people who want their time and money well-spent,” states Tanner.


Micro-actions add up to Mega Good in the Human Race


The future is all about ease of participation and the ability to co-create in an increasingly connected world. This new way of doing things – crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, co-creation, collaboration, and open innovation – is challenging business models and offering an immense opportunity to rethink and reinvent conventional processes.

People want simple, quick, and easy ways to connect, and crowdfunding offers this. According to Pew Research Center, 87 percent of crowdfunding donors believe that these platforms help them feel more connected to the projects they support.

Tanner is on fire about bringing people together to co-create this event, “Our Human Race is on pace to DOUBLE the amount of funds raised for great causes because we understand the power of giving people crowd-based tools and watching the magic that happens when the drive in each of us for creating good is unleashed. When we all bring what is ours to give – online, in person, as donors, fundraisers or volunteers – we achieve something together that none of us could do on our own.”

So there you have it folks: If you need a little more joy, good health, and connection in your life, we suggest you get involved with the Human Race.

The 2018 goal for the Human Race is to raise $400,000 to benefit 125 great local causes and there’s a place for every person, group and business to join the fun!


3 Ways to Be a Star in the Human Race


Fundraise For a Cause You Love Visit, pick your favorite cause, engage your friends to chance the world with you and join us on Race Day. Receive a T-shirt and breakfast with a donation of $35 or more.

Give to Your Favorite Cause Provide a one-time donation today. Your donation can help your favorite group with incentives and matching funds.

Volunteer at the Human Race on May 12 Families, groups and individuals are invited to share in the fun by volunteering at the Race. Each year more than 300 volunteers step up to make the event a success. Learn more and register as a volunteer.