Gunnison Gut Check timed as reminder of 9/11 observances

With a long arduous journey ahead, the racers set out early morning last year in Gunnison’s Gut Check.

GUNNISON—The Gunnison Gut Check and patriotic procession will fit in perfectly with the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

Now in its fourth year, the Gunnison ruck race, dinner, auction and fundraiser was timed from the beginning to land on Sept. 11 in order to honor and remember the people who were attacked 20 years ago, said Justen Mellor, event organizer. “And to remember those who rescued us and took the fight to the enemy on their soil.”

The Gunnsion Gut Check, presented by the United We March organization, is growing bigger and more relevant every year, he said. 

To the runners who cross line the finish line, the race is a personal thing. To all the people who donate their time, money and labor to put together the patriotic event, it’s a teamwork thing, Mellor said. The event is just something the community has needed.

Last year, the fundraiser, including the auction and marches, grossed more than $50,000, Mellor said.

The best part of the two-day weekend has been the feeling of unity it creates among people from Gunnison Valley and throughout the state, he said.

Once again this year, Big Betsy, a supersize American flag, will be the anchor of the patriotic procession down Main Street, which starts at 5 p.m. on Friday at 300 South and Main.

Personnel from fire departments, law enforcement, emergency medical technicians, Sanpete County dispatch and veterans will march to show gratitude to all our local and state first responders and veterans, Mellor said. 

Two F35 fighter jets from the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base will do a flyover during the procession. 

Following the procession, dinner will be served at the Gunnison City Park. Following dinner,  there be a motivation speech by Dan Tueller, who was shot in the line of duty patrolling the streets in downtown Salt Lake City. He is currently on military leave from Salt lake City Police Department to serve as a leadership instructor with the U.S. Army.

He has served in the Army National Guard since 2005 and was deployed to Iraq 2010-2011.

Another new feature is the Patriotic Car Show, which runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. There will also be laser tag for the family on Saturday running from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

On Saturday, there will be vendors all day, food trucks and a professional disk jockey, Chris Noelle, from Festival Sounds in St. George. Noelle will be cheering on participants crossing the finish line.

The Gut Check race begins at 6 a.m. on Saturday. The race consists of a half ruck, or 16.5-mile march, and full ruck, or 26-mile march using a 35-pound ruck. There is also a no-weight class. 

New this year is the mini Gut Check, which is a 4-mile tribute to 9/11, accompanied by stories of heroic and courageous acts of fire fighters, law enforcement, EMS and citizens on that day 20 years ago, Mellor said.

Items handed out along the 4-mile route will include QR-code videos and a timeline of the events that day. This is a perfect way for families to share and learn and never forget that day and the sacrifices made, Mellor said.

Proceeds from United We March will benefit the following charities: UVU Veteran Success Center, Corporal Acel Thompson Not Forgotten Fund, Stephen Siller Tunnel-to-Towers Foundation, Utah 1033 Foundation and the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

Go to Gunnison Gut Check’s website more information and to register for the race.