Two thousand members of the class of 2021 sprinted across Hollingsworth Field as part of the 10th annual Rebel Run on Saturday morning. The stampede of new Rebels kicked off the day’s football game against University of Tennessee at Martin.
Both freshman and transfer students were able to participate in the event, which is often billed as “the fastest 100 yards of your life.”
“I think it’s really cool to see all of the students at one time on the field running,” Bradley Baker, director of the Student Union, said. “I think the best part is just seeing the looks on their faces when they enter the stadium.”
“I’m expecting a lot of memories,” freshman exercise science major Blythe Blackwell said before she embarked on the run.
Most freshmen seemed to enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“I felt really energetic,” freshman Robert Harris said. “I’ve never felt anything like that before. It was invigorating.”
This year’s run saw the addition of some new elements meant to further excite the crowd of sprinters.
Students had the opportunity to mingle inside the Manning Center on the indoor practice field this year as they waited for the run to start.
“I think this year we really completed the experience by holding them indoors and then letting them run across the field,” Baker said. “It’s going to be a great addition to the run I think, because it makes the overall enjoyment of the experience better.”
Baker said waiting on the indoor practice field was helpful for keeping students out of the heat before the run. In previous years, students gathered in large crowds outside of the stadium’s gates before storming the field.
Within a week of opening registration, Baker said that about 1,300 students were already signed up for Rebel Run. The run quickly reached its max capacity of 2,000 students.
Student Activities Association and Ole Miss Athletics have considered increasing the cap on the number of Rebel Run participants in the future. Now, Rebel Run is able to use two new tunnels created during the stadium’s 2016 expansion.
Rebel Run began after one of the university’s senior leadership members saw a similar event at Vanderbilt University. The university decided to bring the event to Ole Miss as a way to officially introduce the freshman class. Since its 2007 debut, Rebel Run has been a highlight for many incoming students at Ole Miss.
“It’s become a very popular tradition,” Baker said. “We’ve seen it grow both among the students and among the fans. They really enjoy seeing the freshmen run across the field.”