SALT LAKE CITY — Utah football fans and others are joining in the Ty Jordan Challenge, issued after the death on Christmas of University of Utah running back Ty Jordan.
Fans are honoring Jordan’s life by running, walking, biking, or even crawling, 597 miles in 2021. Specifically, the challenge begins January 1 and ends on the opening day of the Utah Ute’s 2021 football season, likely September 2.
The number 597 represents how many yards Jordan rushed for in his COVID-19-altered true freshman season this year.
Cory Gillies, a self-proclaimed longtime Ute fan, said he had the idea for the challenge after seeing this tweet by Ute Zone reporter, Michelle Bodkin.
— Michelle Bodkin (@Bodkin247Sports) December 26, 2020
“He was a star in the making and on track to break every record at the university at the running back level,” Gillies told KSL Newsradio.
“We wanted to do something that would keep him in our thoughts for a long time.”
After Bodkin’s initial tweet, others began responding to the social media post.
I agree. I’m going to commit to running 597 miles for Ty Jordan by the start of football season 2021. I will get back to running to honor Ty. RIP Ty Jordan. Gone too soon. I’ll post to keep accountable. Starting Jan 1, 2021. I’m done with 2020.
— 597ForTy (@capnwarfare) December 26, 2020
Soon, other fans started adding their own twist to the challenge.
I loved this idea and started a challenge on Nike Run to help me keep track. If anyone wants to join, let me know! I can only invite people I’m friends with on Nike Run but it says friends can invite friends as well, so we can add each other as friends or whatever we need to do. https://t.co/annuLm6sjV pic.twitter.com/rfU8DCc5FO
— Sadie Pyne (@Sadiepyne) December 27, 2020
“I didn’t intend for this to get into what it is,” Gillies said. “I just kind of came up with it as a personal challenge and people wanted to join. I think it’s great.”
Gillies said he has been a runner in the past but hasn’t been running for some time and that’s why this is truly a personal challenge. One which has grown to include dozens of others.
According to our news partners at KSL Sports, you can participate in the Ty Jordan Challenge on the Nike Run app. If you’d like to join, send a direct message to the organizers, @capnwarfare or @Sadiepyne, on Twitter.
Jordan was in North Texas visiting family when he died Friday night. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s office reports that Jordan died of an accidental gunshot wound to the abdomen.