Peterborough church holds first ‘Run for the One’ 5k

  • Pastor Kenny Laughters and Jenna Narkum at Next Level Chruch in Peterborough are some of the organizers behind Run for the One 5k in Keene this Monday, an event created to raise awareness and money to fight addiction. Photo by MEGHAN PIERCE—

  • Pastor Kenny Laughters and Jenna Narkum at Next Level Church in Peterborough are some of the organizers behind Run for the One 5k in Keene this Monday, an event created to raise awareness and money to fight addiction. Photo by MEGHAN PIERCE—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 8/28/2019 6:22:09 PM

The Run for the One 5K this Monday in Keene is part of a Peterborough church’s effort to fight drug-related overdoses and deaths.

The “heartbeat behind” the Run for the One is based on the statistic that in 2017 there were 70,000 drug-related overdoses or deaths in America, Peterborough Next Level Church pastor Kenny Laughter said Tuesday.

“That stat is shocking, shocking, and that’s 70,000 too many. And so when we say for ‘the One’ we just mean that one person, you know, they feel hopeless they feel lost, they feel there is no other way out unless I take this one hit.”

“And that was me for 12 years, so that’s a big deal,” Jenna Narkum added. “And it’s murdering our area too, and rural areas.”

Narkum has been in recovery for the past 16 months. She grew up in Jaffrey, but lived in Boston through most of her addiction to opioids. She now lives in Hancock. She is a member of Next Level Church in Peterborough and has recently become its social media manager.

Next Level Church uses modern technology, including internet broadcasted sermons on a big screen, and rock music in their services to draw in typically non-churchgoing people. Because of this, since opening its Peterborough location in 2017 with Laughters as the “location pastor” many struggling with addiction have been drawn to the unconventional, hip and welcoming services, Laughters said.

Narkum had grown up going to a church in Rindge, but once she was in recovery didn’t feel she fit in a typical church anymore with her tattoos and history of addiction. “I would never go to Rindge with tattoos. … I’m more comfortable here.” Narkum said she was drawn in by Next Level’s movie nights.

“We meet people like Jenna and what we find is it’s kind of the missing piece of recovery for them,” Laughters said. “We have a phrase that we say, ‘It’s OK to not to be OK.’ … I think because of that we see people from all walks of life. … Even here in Peterborough we’ve been fortunate to encounter a lot of people maybe walking in, beginning their recovery from drugs and alcohol. They are coming in and they are hearing the message ‘they are loved no matter what’ and that’s the message that ‘God loves them no matter what.’”

“It blows your mind as a drug addict,” Narkum said of the message.

Money raised from Run for the One is going to The Antrim House, a sober house for women in Antrim that is part of Sobriety Centers of New Hampshire. It could be any local organization helping those with addiction, Laughters said, and will likely change as they plan to continue this 5K annually.

“We just want to help people who are helping people. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel,” he said.

But for Narkum, she herself received a scholarship to stay at a sober living house early on in her recovery so donating money to The Antrim House that could use it to offer scholarships is meaningful to her.

“I’m sober today because of things like this,” Narkum said. “There are people who are worse then me. What are they going to do? Go to jail, then the streets, jail, then the streets again?”

“So we’re running for Jennas,” Laughters said. “We’re running for people like her.”

Next Level churches, which are located in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Florida, are hosting five of these Run for the One events. Because Keene and Peterborough churches are so close to each other they decided to partner and organize a Monadnock Region Run for the One.

The 5K is planned to take place on Monday at Wheelock Park in Keene. You can learn more or register online at www.runfortheone.com. And if you live out of the area or don’t want to “run, walk or crawl” in Keene on Monday you can register online as a virtual runner by giving a donation.


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