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Utah football fans honor Ty Jordan with “The Ty Jordan Challenge”

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - DECEMBER 19: Ty Jordan #22 of the Utah Utes rushes for a touchdown while being chased by Justus Rogers #37, Hunter Escorcia #31, and Armani Marsh #8 of the Washington State Cougars during their game December 19, 2020 at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

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.

Related:  Mountain “U” lit in Jordan’s honor, community stunned

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.


“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.

Soon, other fans started adding their own twist to the challenge.

“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.