PORTSMOUTH — Wearing only a habit and a pair of sneakers on Monday morning, Father Christian Tutor and Sister Mary Rose were among the last... Read More
PORTSMOUTH — Wearing only a habit and a pair of sneakers on Monday morning, Father Christian Tutor and Sister Mary Rose were among the last to cross the finish line of the St. Charles Children’s Home 5K at Pease.
With two youngsters in tow, the pair jogged past more than 1,000 racers and supporters through the finish line and could only celebrate as their more than three-mile journey had come to an end.
Despite being among the last to cross the line, both insisted the race wasn’t about winning.
“The children is what it’s all about,” said Tutor.
Having been with the organization for four years, Tutor said watching as racers wind their way through the course to raise funds for the home is gratifying.
Tutor ran the course with two of the youngest children at St. Charles and said while it may have been a challenge, it was still well worth it.
“We were walking, running, skipping and looking for sticks on the side of the road, but they made it,” joked Tutor.
While admitting that wearing a habit or robe can be a bit much during a 5K, Tutor said racers were blessed with good weather on Monday.
“The wind was blowing so God was merciful on to us,” he said.
For Tara and Ken Swist of Raymond, the event was about helping make their dream of having a big family come true.
“St. Charles and all of the St. Charles runners have supported all of those people who cannot have a family to finally have their dream,” said Tara Swist. “All of these people have helped to support our family.”
Unable to have children on their own, the Swist’s adopted five children, ages six through 13, with the help of the state and St. Charles.
“We’ve been blessed,” she said.
With their five children in two, the Swist’s completed the race in just under an hour on Monday.
Sister Mary Rose said the race has been held on Labor Day going on for 14 years now and was created as a way of finding healthy ways for children to release anger and negative emotions.
“Our kids, because of the situation they’ve been in the past, tend to have a lot of anger and sadness,” said Rose. “This is a very good way to channel their energy in a positive way.”
Rose said the sisters and children run four miles each day and participate in local 5k road races during the year.
Sisters of St. Charles Children’s Home have staffed the Rochester home since 1968. The Children’s Home accepts children who have been removed from their family by court order and are under the protection of the Division of Welfare.
Currently the group home has 18 children, said Rose.
The race has grown exponentially over the years, and has raised more than $155,000 for the home.
This year’s race featured 998 participants, said Rose.