Sixty-Mile Relay from Gardner-Webb to UNC Charlotte Adds to New Football Rivalry

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Public Invited to Participate in Event Honoring the Military on October 5 

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Runners of several counties are invited to participate in the inaugural “50 to 50 Military Appreciation Relay Run” event on Oct. 5. The relay involves a series of runners transporting the Gardner-Webb vs. UNC Charlotte game ball for the football matchup from Boiling Springs to Charlotte (nearly 60 miles).  The event is in conjunction with Military Appreciation Day at UNC Charlotte, and is a joint effort by the adjoined ROTC programs at GWU and UNCC (which includes the Military Science and Aerospace Studies Departments – Army and Air Force).

The relay begins inside GWU’s Spangler Stadium on the 50-yard line at 4:15 a.m. with a moment of silence for fallen heroes of the United States Armed Forces. That will be followed by a 75-mm Howitzer cannon salute.  The first runner will then leave Spangler Stadium and begins the route to Jerry Richardson Stadium on the UNCC campus.  The final runner of the relay will be responsible for delivering the football to the game officials prior to the 12 p.m. kickoff.

Approximately the first 20 miles of the run will take place inside Cleveland County and will feature GWU and community participants, while the remaining 40 miles will consist of UNC-Charlotte representatives.  A number of GWU ROTC cadets 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.  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 new 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 solider 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 join in the event contact DeVaughn by email no later than Tuesday, Oct. 1 at

The Runnin’ Bulldogs football team is currently 3-1 on the season and ranked 25th in the nation in the latest Sports Network FCS Top 25 Poll.

The GWU vs. UNC-Charlotte football game will air live in WGWG 88.3 FM ( and on WCCB-TV.

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).