Brad Smith and the Missouri football team ran for 277 yards against Nebraska on Saturday, but that does not compare to the distance members of Sigma Nu fraternity are running as part of their first Game Ball Run.
About 55 people, including others from the university community, are running about 170 miles with a football from Memorial Stadium in Columbia to Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kan.
Sigma Nu is organizing the event to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
At 5:21 p.m. Thursday, Greg Fischer started running from the Don Faurot statue outside of Memorial Stadium toward the MKT Trail. From there, other runners will take the Katy Trail to Boonville and stop for the night. Starting at 7 a.m. today they will take Highway 41 from Boonville to Marshall and then to Lawrence.
Jacob Griesenauer, the president of Sigma Nu, said the goal is to get to Memorial Stadium in Lawrence by the noon kickoff of the Missouri-Kansas football game.
Groups of 10 people will run 20-mile stretches of the route. It is up to each group how far each person will run.
Sigma Nu sent letters to family and friends asking for $10 to $20 donations to the hospital. Griesenauer said they have sent 2,000 letters and they plan to send another 6,000 letters in hopes of collecting $40,000.
Before the run started, there was an opening ceremony where Griesenauer, representatives for St. Jude and Joe and Joyce Zulovich of Columbia spoke. The Zulovich’s four-year-old daughter, Jill, was treated for a malignant rhabdoid tumor at St. Jude from January-September 2004.
“I’m honored that they choose St. Jude’s,” Joyce Zulovich said. “That hospital literally saved our daughter’s life. We are glad the fraternity brothers took the effort and initiative to organize this great run to Lawrence and raise money for Jill’s hospital down in Memphis.”
Griesenauer said that the idea for the run came from a similar run where Sigma Nu members from Bradley University ran to Illinois State with a basketball.