United We March ruck race will again challenge runners
By Robert Green
Gunnison—The highly successful United We March ruck race will be testing the willpower and endurance of participants again this year.
And the second annual fundraiser, now named the Gunnison Gut Check, is expected to raise twice as much money as last year, said event organizer Justin Mellor. Last year, the event grossed $32,000 and $24,000 was left over after expenses to distribute to four charities. There were 135 participants.
The Gunnison Gut Check will get started on the evening of Sept. 6 with a dinner and auction and a full schedule of patriotic events, including the big race, will continue on Saturday, Sept. 7.
The fundraiser is held in remembrance of 9/11 and to support America’s heroes, Mellor said. The inaugural was a big success, he said, thanks to enthusiastic participation and volunteers. “The stories of [runners] struggling through, whether they finished or not, show the amazing hearts of people and how they love all of our heroes,” he said. The volunteers also played a huge part in the race’s success. First aid, water and fruit stations are manned throughout the course.
The races will start at 6 a.m. at the Gunnison City Park, 250 N. Main. Everyone is invited to come and express their gratitude to veterans, law enforcement and first responders as the runners take off from the start line, Mellor said.
Runners have the choice of signing up for either a full ruck or half ruck, with the option of carrying a 35-pound backpack or not. “Ruck” is a military term for a hike, often through rough terrain, and often carrying military gear. The full-ruck race is 26 miles and the half-ruck race is 16 miles.
The Gunnison course take runners over dirt roads and mountainous terrain, with an elevation change of 1300 feet.
A patriotic program on Saturday morning will start off with Chelsi Goulart singing the Star Spangled Banner. She competed in Miss America scholarship pageants to pay her way through college. She won the titles of Miss Northern Utah County 2012, Miss Rocky Mountain 2013, Miss Legacy 2014 and was a Miss Utah runner-up in 2014. Chelsi currently lives in Lehi with her husband and newborn baby girl. She owns a life and health coaching practice.
Omar Vieira, A retired US Navy Seal who served for over 20 years, will offer a patriotic and motivational speech. He also has held multiple leadership positions in diverse organizations, including overseas operations. He has become an expert in elite team development, effective leadership and developing mental toughness in high stress situations.
The full schedule of events is listed below:
Friday Sept. 6:
6 p.m. Dinner and Auction.
Dinner Donated by UVU Veterans Success Center and Monroe City.
Auction – Items to bid on or win in games.
Saturday Sept. 7:
6 a.m. Patriotic Program.
Follow the Flag is bringing Big Betsy, a one-quarter acre size American Flag; 100 people are needed to help hold this flag for the ceremony.
Chelsi Goulart is singing the Star Spangled Banner.
Omar Vieira, retired Navy Seal, will be the motivational speaker.
Hero Honors – The public and every veteran, law enforcement officer and first responders are invited to stand at the start gate as participants start the march and thank them for their service.
8:30 a.m. Gunnison Hospice Run to Remember 5K.
Kim Olsen – Gold Star Mother and hospice innovator will be the motivational speaker.
Saturday Park Activities – Freedom Vehicles will be bringing WW2 vehicles and military tents and memorabilia, booths and food.
Mike Peterson from Mikes Damascus knives will be demonstrating his knife-smithing techniques.
Charities for 2019 are:
UVU Veterans Success center-Veteran; Utah1033 Foundation-LEO; Wildland Firefighter Foundation – First Responder; and Corporal Acel Thompson Not Forgotten Fund Service.
To register and for more information visit unitedwemarch.itsyourrace.com; email
firstname.lastname@example.org or call Justin at 201-1854.