ROTC run
UF Air Force ROTC cadets Jake Gold (left), Destiny Cepero, and Jonathan Toledo hold the game ball during the relay on their way to Gainesville.

Every year, the U.S. Military and Naval academies run a relay between West Point, New York, and Annapolis, Maryland, in their long-standing rivalry during game day weekend.

This year, UF and Florida State University ROTC branches joined in a similar tradition for the first time. 

Students from FSU ran from Tallahassee to Buckville, Florida, where they met 64 UF students who ran from there to Gainesville — the midway point between both universities.

The UF runners finished at Gator Walk in front of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Capt. Adam Langley, who also helps run the UF’s ROTC Air Force branch, said cadets could volunteer for the race. 

“It’s about 150 miles approximately, and this year is the 150th year of college football,” Langley said. “Pride, fitness and a love for college football — those are the reasons why we did it.”

UF ROTC Air Force First Lieutenant Cadet Ian White, a 22-year-old UF aerospace engineering fifth-year, ran the first leg of the race and finished the last leg at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. He said he enjoyed running through Gainesville the most for the last leg, as it is his hometown. 

“It’s kind of like a bucket list thing to run both representing my country through ROTC and my school for the Florida Gators,” he said.