Final Class of ’23 ‘Run With Jim’ Leads to a Record Number of Participants

May 2, 2023 By Mike Mather, Mike Mather,

Around 900 students – a record number of “Run With Jim” participants – laced up their sneakers for the Class of 2023’s final chance to loop around Grounds with President Jim Ryan, despite the cloudy skies and cool temperatures that spread across Charlottesville on Tuesday.

Ryan kicked off the running series shortly after taking office in 2018, thinking maybe a handful of students would join him after his first invitation as president. Instead, more than a hundred did, and the event grew to become so popular that it landed on the bucket list of things for students to do before they graduate.

A lot of students checked off that item Tuesday.

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Two students face away from the camera showing off their "Run with Jim" shirts
About an hour after dawn broke, Class of 2023 students started gathering in Scott Stadium for their final chance to run a couple miles with the University president. Nine hundred participants – a record number – joined the morning jaunt. (Photo by Emily Faith Morgan, University Communications)

The runners met on the turf of Scott Stadium not long after dawn to take selfies with the president and with each other.

The group started in the stadium, rumbled through the football tunnel and spilled onto Stadium Road. From there, the procession ran around the Aquatic & Fitness Center, jogged by the School of Education and Human Development, and circled the Lawn. The dash ended at the Rotunda with a jaunt under an arch of blue, orange and white balloons.

UVA President Jim Ryan, flanked by cheerleaders, addresses the record-setting number of Run With Jim participants who gathered on Scott Stadium's 50-yard line. (Photo by Kristen Finn)
Just moments ahead of the start, Ryan is surrounded by some of the 900 runners, mostly fourth-year students, for his final run with the Class of 2023. (Photo by Kristen Finn)
Runners excitedly enter the football teams tunnel to begin the run
The event started with a dash through the UVA football team’s tunnel, complete with enthusiastic cheerleaders coaxing on the runners. (Photo by Emily Faith Morgan, University Communications)
Student takes a photo with Jim Ryan during the run
A student manages to keep pace with Ryan to snap a selfie. Ryan didn’t think the “Run With Jim” events would be all that popular when he introduced them in 2018, but the event has become a bucket-list item for graduating Wahoos. (Photo by Emily Faith Morgan, University Communications)
Students sit in recovery looking out at the lawn
The event ended at the Rotunda, at the same spot where these fourth-year students will begin their walks in caps and gowns in just over two weeks. (Photo by Emily Faith Morgan, University Communications)

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Mike Mather

Managing Editor University Communications