It was the first leg of the inaugural Egg Bowl Run.
UM cadets ran the football 45 miles, from campus to Calhoun City. Upon arrival, Mississippi State University’s ROTC cadets took the ball and completed the second leg of the run into Starkville for the Egg Bowl showdown on Thanksgiving Day.
Between both ROTC programs, the run covers more than 90 miles on foot in one day.
They hope to start a new tradition for the communities of Oxford and Starkville and add to the tradition of the already historic rivalry.
“You’ve got Thanksgiving, you’ve got football and you’ve got our veterans doing this,” said Master Sgt. Matt Hayes, UM senior military instructor. “It’s going to be great.”
The UM cadets share the sentiment with their instructor. They are motivated to run as a unit and have a little rivalry fun with the MSU cadets.
“There will be some rivalry between the ROTC programs,” said John Bolding, cadet battalion commander for UM ROTC. “I think we will see who can get to the halfway point the fastest.”
Twenty UM cadets volunteered to complete 10 four-mile legs of the journey to the rendezvous point. Each cadet had a running partner for added motivation.
“I think it’s going to be awesome,” Bolding said. “Running 40 miles all the way to Calhoun City with my battalion will be motivating.”
UM cadets arranged themselves in a military style formation and marched the last mile to Calhoun City as a full unit.
Communities along the road from Oxford to Starkville were encouraged to come out and show support for the cadets running the football.
Cadets formed outside Barnard Hall at 5 a.m. before proceeding along Student Union Drive and Grove Loop to University Avenue. The cadets then headed east on University Avenue to Highway 7, where they ran south to the Highway 7-Highway 9 split. They took Highway 9 straight to Calhoun City, where they stopped in the city square at a small pavilion to hand over the ball to the MSU group and relaxed with some refreshments before heading back to Oxford.