The fifth annual The Things They Carry Ruck March is happening — albeit differently.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual march over highways covering 322 miles between Memorial Stadium and Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium will not happen, but participants are still logging miles to raise awareness for the epidemic of veteran suicide. There will also be a friendly competition with the University of Iowa to see which team logs the most miles.
The annual ruck — a military term for hauling gear in a backpack from one point to another — brings awareness to an epidemic that is taking around 16 lives a day, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. It also serves as a way for student veterans and active military to build a community on campus and locally, said Rodrigo Venegas, this year’s Ruck March organizer for the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. This year, they’ll be cheering each other on virtually.
Participation is open to anyone in Nebraska.
“Yes, this is a veterans’ organization, but at the end of the day, we are Husker Nation,” Venegas wrote on the Student Veterans of America’s Facebook page announcing the march.
Venegas, a junior construction management major and vice president of Nebraska’s Student Veterans of America, said participants began logging miles Nov. 19, and will continue to accumulate marching miles through Nov. 26.
On Nov. 27, just prior to kickoff of the Iowa-Nebraska game, a winning team will be announced. Student veterans and active military representatives also will be walking the game ball into Memorial Stadium at 9 a.m. game day.
“Our goal here is to log 500 miles,” Venegas said. “And who doesn’t want to beat Iowa?”
More information can be found here.