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The Running Nuns of St. Charles Children’s Home in Rochester, NH

Since I started this blog a year ago, I’ve met a lot of people who have done some great things through running. I’d like to use this post to highlight a particular group of women who are working hard to change the lives of troubled children for the better, and one of the ways they are doing this is by taking them for daily runs.

The St. Charles Children’s Home in Rochester, NH, is a group home for abused and neglected children ages 3-12. The Home is run by a group of Roman Catholic women dedicated to taking care of these children, with the hope that they can eventually be placed with a family. Given the troubled past of many of these children, adapting to group life can have its rough patches, and the Sisters of the St. Charles Home, better known in these parts as The Running Nuns, have turned to daily running as a way to provide these children with an outlet to work through some of their behavioral problems. Here’s a description of their running program from the St. Charles Home website:

“Founded during the summer of 1996, the running program at St. Charles was developed to help the children cope with the stress and anger often accompanying placement and separation issues. A natural antidepressant, running enables the enhancement of each child’s self esteem.


The levels of training and competition vary, depending on each child’s age and ability, up to 4 miles a day, 5 days a week. The children participate in 5k and 8k road races in the Seacoast area.”

In addition to the daily runs, the St. Charles Home also sponsors an annual 5K race in September, the St. Charles Children’s Home 5K. I haven’t run this race yet, but I have seen the Running Nuns at races that I have participated in here in NH.

I’m honored that one of the Running Nuns, Sister Mary Agnes, has been a regular reader and supporter of this blog. And now, she’s joined dailymile.com to start chronicling her return to running – you can find her profile here: http://www.dailymile.com/people/SisterMaryAgnes. Lets show her, and her fellow nuns, some support for the great things that they do!

Below is a video about the Running Nuns of the St. Charles Home from CBS:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

You can also read stories about the Running Nuns on the New Hampshire Public Radio Website (by Keith Shields, a member of my local running club!), as well as Runner’s World.

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.

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