With only eight prior meetings, Tennessee and Virginia Tech aren’t traditional rivals, but both schools’ Army ROTC cadets are adopting, and modifying, a rivalry game tradition of running the game day ball to the opposing stadium. Since there’s no home team, both schools are running a ball to the Bristol Motor Speedway.

“With the Battle at Bristol, we thought it would be cool to run the game ball from Knoxville to Bristol as a way to celebrate the historic game and be a part of it in some small way,” Lt. Col. Jared Crain, head of UT’s Army ROTC Rocky Top Battalion, told Tennessee Today.

Fourteen of the UT Army ROTC’s 150 cadets will rotate two-to-four mile stretches of the 148-mile trek from UT campus to Bristol Motor Speedway. A police escort will be alongside to provide safety.

The cadets will start the run at General Neyland’s statue at Neyland Stadium’s Gate 17 on Phillip Fulmer Way and walk through Knoxville, then up to Morristown, White Pine, and Newport and Greeneville, where they will stop for the night.

“The Greeneville YMCA is putting us up for the night and hosting a barbecue for the cadets and providing cots,” Crain said. “Then the cadets will get up early Saturday morning and run the rest of the way in through Fall Branch, Kingsport, and Blountville until they reach Bristol.”