On February 24th, Sandia High School is hosting its Gunther Memorial 5k at 9 AM. The goal of the run is to honor Coach Gunther and to raise awareness for cancer. The school wants “to help continue the fight against cancer while building up the students John served and loved”, according to the John D. Gunther Memorial 5K Fun Run committee. Participants don’t have to sign up for the run, they just have to show up. Participants can choose to run or walk the 5k, or just be there to watch the unveiling of the sign. The committee is accepting donations, and fundraising will be split between the baseball team, the athletic department, The American Cancer Society, and the Gunther Scholarship. The run is 3.1 miles around the school in total.
Mr. Weems and Mrs. Meyer were discussing the unveiling of the new sign when Mrs. Meyers had the idea of combining the two events, and they wanted to start doing it annually. “We came up with the idea to bring the whole community together to honor John”, Mr. Weems said, and, “We thought we should couple it with a run, because Mr. Gunther was a runner”, which was said by Mrs. Meyers. When asked about how organizing this event has been for him, Mr. Weems stated how much of a privilege it was, and how honored he is to be able to take part of it. Mrs. Meyers agreed, discussing how much of an honor it was to put together. Mr. Weems talked about how Coach Gunther was his mentor through APS, and how much he meant to him. He also emphasized that organizing the run was a team effort, stating, “we are happy to do it.”
Mr. Weems expressed that he is absolutely going to be running in the 5k. “I run all the time and it would be a privilege to do so… Watch out! I’m gonna win it.” he stated with confidence. Mrs. Meyer will also be running, stating, “I will be there, I will be square, and I’ll have my running shoes on!” The school is planning on doing this 5k yearly, in order to “continue to remember him (Coach Gunther) by doing it annually, as well as make awareness for cancer” in the words of Mr. Weems, the run will also fund the Gunther Scholarship.
It is expected that the run will have a huge impact on the community, and that it will be extremely positive. Both Mr. Weems and Mrs. Meyers articulated that considering how well loved and appreciated Coach Gunther is by the community, there will be an incredibly large turnout. Both of the teachers had endless things to say about how kind, caring, and loving Mr. Gunther was, and how close they were to him. They each talked about what he meant to them, with Mrs. Meyers stating “I knew him for 20 years, not long enough… He understood what it meant to love people.” and Mr. Weems remarking that he had an enormous impact, and that he influenced an enormous amount of students, teachers and staff while at Sandia. In Mr. Weems’ words, Mr. Gunther’s impact was “life changing for everyone he came across.”
When asked about what they would say to everyone participating in the run, Mr. Weems said “Please come out and honor this man who gave this community so much. Whether you walk, run, or just be there for the presentation, we’d love to see you out there”, while Mrs. Meyers stated “Thank you. And that’s exactly what Gunther would say if he were here, too. Thank you for being out here. Thank you for caring about the people next to you.” In their closing statements, Mrs. Meyers simply talked about how anybody at all can participate in the 5k, and that everyone should take the opportunity to come celebrate and honor who Mr. Gunther was as a person. Mr. Weems repeated how much of a privilege it was to be a part of the run, and that, “I am blessed to have known such a wonderful man who gave so much to everyone around him.” All in all, the run should be a great success, and highly rewarding for all who participate.