Fans running from West Lafayette to Bloomington to deliver Saturday’s game ball

Sometime early Friday morning, the game ball for Saturday’s Old Oaken Bucket game was taken from Ross Ade Stadium and directed on a course for Bloomington.

It’s not traveling in the laps of Boilermakers, nor is it packed in a trunk somewhere on a team bus.

No, the game ball is in the hands of IU and Purdue fans who are participating in a special relay run designed to take them from West Lafayette to Memorial Stadium in time to hand off the ball before the start of this year’s game.

Several runners will take turns covering different legs of the 117-mile route between the two stadiums, delivering the ball to game officials just prior to kickoff. Organizers are hoping this event will become a new annual tradition associated with the rivalry game.

Runners are traveling on state highways and city streets thanks to a special escort from the Indiana State Police. The ball will pass through Indianapolis this afternoon, where local celebrities and dignitaries will carry it before runners begin the southern leg of the relay to Bloomington later this evening.

You can follow the trip on Twitter via Indiana’s official athletics account at https://twitter.com/ourindiana