Vernon marathoner promotes fitness and charity

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon - posted Mon., Oct. 28, 2013
Charlie Chatterton runs with students at Skinner Road School, as the last leg of his 27-mile Vernon Schools Marathon on Oct. 24. Photos by Steve Smith.
Charlie Chatterton runs with students at Skinner Road School, as the last leg of his 27-mile Vernon Schools Marathon on Oct. 24. Photos by Steve Smith.

Charlie Chatterton ran a marathon on Oct. 24, in which he finished in both first and last place but the winners, he hopes, are the children of Vernon and the community at large.

Chatterton is a professor at Eastern Connecticut State University, and an advocate for many causes, including fitness. Also a Skinner Road School PTO parent, Chatterton ran his fifth annual Vernon Schools Marathon as part of the Taking Strides to Brake the Cycle of Poverty Marathon Initiative.

He began and ended his run at Skinner Road School, and visited every other public school in town, stopping to speak with students about fitness and a healthy lifestyle, as well as about poverty and helping others. He also invited students to run a mile with him, on their school's respective grounds. Chatterton asked students about what sports and activities they enjoy, and what they learn about in physical education classes.

“It's a lot of fun,” Chatterton said, adding that he mostly met with students during physical education classes, and the younger kids didn't quite run a mile. Chatterton said that at many of the schools, especially those involved in community service projects for those less fortunate, he speaks about the number of kids who live in poverty in Connecticut, which he said would fill Rentschler Field more than twice over. He also talks about how students can help.

“I talk about things that people do to help each other,” Chatterton said, “like the food drives schools have around Thanksgiving. I just try to promote helping, even kids just helping their friends.”

Chatterton has run a total of 56 of these educational marathons, including at ECSU, and in locations including New Orleans, which he did after hurricane Katrina. “It's a blast talking with the kids and their teachers,” he said. “It's neat when you round the corner and they see you and get excited.”

He added that a student from ECSU came and ran with him for part of his day, and Lake Street School Principal Terese Duenzl also ran with students there.

“It's a great two-prong activity, promoting two causes,” he said, adding that although he was quite tired after running 26 miles, he finished the last lap around the field at Skinner Road School to complete one more mile, even thought the students running with him had stopped.

Most of the schools are also holding food drives to benefit the Hockanum Valley Community Council's Food Pantry. Non-perishable foods can be dropped-off at the schools any time before Oct. 30.

For more information, contact Charlie Chatterton at chattertonc@easternct.edu.


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