In it for the long run: Teachers take on marathons

Last year, over 4,000 runners in Cincinnati took their last euphoric step as they crossed the finish line of the Flying Pig Marathon.

Open to runners of all ages and experience, The Flying Pig has attained the interest of many SHS students, and several will be participating in the race on May 4, 2013.

This year, when the SHS students line up on the starting line, they may be surprised to encounter some familiar faces- their teachers.

A number of SHS math, physics, and even English teachers will be competing in this year’s event. Two in particular, Mr. Mike Gutekunst and Mr. Gregory Pottebaum, have been spotted running the perimeter of the school frequently, all in preparation for the race.

“I try to run every day, but I run probably 5 – 7 days a week,” said Gutekunst. “Mr. Pottebaum and I do one or two speed workouts a week, similar to the ones the track teams do. We do hill workouts as well as long distance runs.”

The two teachers will be a part of a four-person relay, in which each relay member will be running one quarter of a complete marathon.

“We’ve been training fairly hard. If it’s a slow year our team has the chance to win the relay,” said Gutekunst.

Running a marathon requires intense training, and is usually described as both physically, and emotionally exhausting. The question now becomes: Why run?

“I’ve been running for around two and a half years, and I enjoy it. Marathons are a challenge,” said Pottebaum. “I did my first marathon last year and now I’m going to finish another one this fall.”

For Gutekunst, long distance running is not a new aspect in his life.

“I’ve been running since I was probably 12 or 13. I like competing with others and myself. It’s freeing to know that I’m in good enough shape to propel myself wherever I want to go whenever I want to go there- and at a pretty fast rate,” said Gutekunst.

Each teacher has their own different reason for participating in the marathon and distance running.

“There’s not a whole lot else to think about so it kind of clears your head. I feel very much in tune with the world around me, and I really enjoy nature when I run, said Gutekunst. “I know the grass in a different way than most people and understand the woods when I run there.”

In addition to being in touch with nature, Gutekunst feels that he gets a personal benefit from partaking in running competitions.

“Hopefully I’ll stay healthy and live longer. I feel younger,” said Gutekunst. “It’s just a good reliever of stress that helps you separate from the rest of the world for a while.”

Regardless of the reasons for running, the completion of a 26 mile race is a goal that has been set by over ten teachers and students here at SHS.

“With marathon running, I’ve set a goal for myself,” said Pottebaum. “Now I have to go out and do it.”