Child obesity and risky after-school behavior are challenges for many young people in New Hampshire. To help address these issues, in the fall of 2011, two middle school cross-country running programs were established in the Upper Valley: one at the Lebanon Junior High School and another at the Indian River Middle School in Canaan, NH.*
In total, 35 middle school students began their running careers through these programs. Four accomplished track and field athletes who are training for the 2012 Olympics served as their coaches through In the Arena, a youth development organization that encourages mentoring by elite athletes.
The Children’s Fund of the Upper Valley set up “The Sneaker Fund” to supply new running shoes and free shoe fittings.