THE FIRST ANNUAL Remembrance Run 5K took place on Saturday, Sept. 29 on the Durand Middle School campus, in celebration of the life of Evan Gardner, a 2015 Durand High School graduate who passed away on Sept. 17, 2017. The ground was still covered with dew and the sun was just beginning to peak over the horizon when a large group of Evan’s friends and family members kicked off the untimed race, which began at the red sugar maple planted in Evan’s memory this past April.
The run was organized by Evan’s mother, Debbie, and his brother, Durand Area Schools teacher Alex Gardner. In addition to remembering their beloved Evan, Alex and Debbie organized the run to help fund the Evan Gardner Memorial Scholarship, which was awarded for the first time earlier this year to 2018 Durand High School graduate Morgan Raley, who made the trip back to Durand from college in the Upper Peninsula to take part in the run.
Evan’s red sugar maple can be seen exhibiting some of its trademark red-orange leaves. It was planted by Evan’s longtime cross-country coach, Dave Madrigal, as a tribute to, and as a reminder of, Evan’s colorful personality, which positively affected everyone in his orbit.
Alex was impressed by the turnout for the first-ever Evan Gardner Remembrance Run, and he expressed his appreciation that so many of Evan’s friends and former teammates made the effort to participate. It should also be noted that Durand’s up-and-coming long distance runners were represented, with at least one Durand Middle School cross-country runner taking part in the 5K run.
(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)