Dancing For the Kids! Why and How To Participate in the IU Dance Marathon

It’s almost that time of year again…it’s almost time for the Indiana University Dance Marathon. I completed my first 36-hour marathon as a sophomore, and it truly was a life-changing experience. We raised $2.2 million for the Riley Hospital for Children! I guarantee you will have the time of your life and you will have a new heart for serving kids. This article goes out to all you first timer IUDMers. Not sure what to expect? Read on!

So by now I’m sure you know that the sole purpose of IUDM is to raise money for the heroic children of Riley. So what else happens? Basically, you stand for 36 hours, learn a line dance, play games, socialize, hear the family’s stories, see a talent show with Riley kids, and so much more! Why wouldn’t you want to participate? If you’re already registered and just want some general advice for the marathon, here are some bits and pieces of what I have learned. 

First off, make sure you do the marathon with friends! You will create memories that will last a lifetime. I guarantee you’ll have lots of laughs and you’ll get to experience the life-changing weekend together. My current roommate and I did the dance marathon last year and got the opportunity to meet the basketball players! I am a huge IU basketball fan and was ecstatic that they stopped by. 

So you are probably wondering what to bring to the marathon. First off, bring extra sets of clothes to change into. I recommend bringing a pair of shorts, a couple t-shirts, sweatpants and a sweatshirt. Also, bring extra pairs of socks. Yes, that sounds odd…but I guarantee you will be thankful for them! I also recommend bringing multiple pairs of shoes. I brought gym shoes and flip-flops and was fine. You will also want to bring a tennis ball to roll your feet on when they start to hurt.  The soles of your feet will get tired from holding up your body weight, and rolling the tennis ball on it will feel so relaxing! If you are a 36-hour dancer, you will get the opportunity to shower so bring proper materials for that if you plan on it. Bring snacks if you wish as well, but I promise the committees will feed you well! You will also want to bring a water bottle to keep yourself hydrated. 

Not going to lie, standing for 36 hours straight is physically exhausting. By the end of the marathon, I can guarantee you will be excited to sleep. The one aspect that will allow you to power through is the unbelievable strength of the kids. These kids go through so much on a daily basis and their stories really allow you to put your own life into perspective. Their stories are absolutely incredible. Some stories will being joy to your heart. Others are simply heart breaking, but one thing all these stories have in common is the incredible gratitude of their families. The Riley families are so incredibly thankful to have the opportunity to participate in the marathon, and all the students fighting for their kids they love so much truly brings them joy. The kids have so much joy despite their circumstances. They are a true sense of inspiration and I guarantee you will think twice before complaining about being tired. Anyways, best of luck Hoosiers and dance on!!! FOR THE KIDS!!

For more posts about IUDM, look at these

About The Author
Steph JimenezClass of 2015

Hi, I'm Steph! I am a SPEA major with a passion for writing and IU basketball. My experience at IU has been nothing short of amazing and the culture and my friends without a doubt have contributed to that. I have made so many amazing memories and am looking forward to many more. I am involved with Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU), the American Marketing Association, and Civic Leadership Development. I am interested in the creative side of business, social media marketing, and environmental studies. I hope you enjoy reading my blog posts and Go Hoosiers!!