Sixty-Mile Relay Adds to Gardner-Webb University Homecoming Rivalry on Oct. 4

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Runners Set to Carry the Game Ball from 50-Yard Line at UNC Charlotte to 50-Yard Line at GWU

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Runners of several counties are invited to participate in the second annual “50 to 50 Military Appreciation Relay Run” event on Oct. 4. The relay involves a series of runners transporting the game ball nearly 60 miles from UNC Charlotte to GWU, just in time for the homecoming day gridiron matchup. The event is a joint effort by the adjoined ROTC programs at GWU and UNC Charlotte (which includes the Military Science and Aerospace Studies Departments – Army and Air Force).

The relay will begin inside the Charlotte 49ers’ Jerry Richardson Stadium on the 50-yard line in the early morning hours of Saturday, Oct. 4. The first runner will then begin the route to Spangler Stadium at Gardner-Webb University.  The final runner of the relay will be responsible for delivering the football to the game officials at the 50-yard line prior to the 1:30 p.m. kickoff.

Approximately the first 40 miles of the run will take place in Mecklenburg and Gaston counties and will feature UNC Charlotte representatives. The final 20-mile stretch will wind through Cleveland County and will feature GWU and community participants. A number of ROTC cadets from both campuses will take part in the relay, and an invitation is open to GWU faculty, staff, students, and the general public who would like to take part in the local segments. Each runner will race a one-mile segment of the relay, before turning over duties to the next runner.

Donnie DeVaughn, master sergeant and military service instructor for the ROTC program at Gardner-Webb hopes this tradition for both universities will become much more than just a fun occasion.

“I’m really excited and the cadets are looking forward to it,” said DeVaughn.  “I also want the relay and appreciation day to uphold Army values that a soldier honors in accordance with our creed.  Never quit. Never accept defeat. Never leave a fallen comrade.”

Plans are for the 50 to 50 Relay to become even more than an event honoring the military. Hopes are for it to transition into a fundraising event for wounded warriors. If you would like to participate, contact Ryan Hull at and provide a reliable phone number and email address.  Officials are in the process of coordinating the runners’ schedule.

The GWU vs. UNC Charlotte football game will air live on and will be broadcast on ESPN3.

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University’s purpose is to advance the Kingdom of God through Christian higher education by preparing graduates for professional and personal success, instilling in them a deep commitment to service and leadership, and equipping them for well-rounded lives of lasting impact, Pro Deo et Humanitate (For God and Humanity).