CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Dozens of University of Virginia students and staff were up early Friday morning to go on a run with the big man on UVA Grounds.

"I'm really happy to see all of you out, especially on a Friday morning," said UVA President Jim Ryan to the crowd gathered outside Madison Hall Friday, September 6.

An Instagram message and tweet invited students to take part in a three-mile run around UVA Grounds.

Ryan says he started the runs last year to get to know the community: "To have a chance to talk to people in a setting that's different from the setting that I'm in most of the day," he said.

"Not many schools in the country you get to go on a run with your president, and I just think it’s a great opportunity for us to get to know him more," said staff member Jimmy Yu.

Ryan says the run was a great way to get in the spirit for UVA’s first home game of the season against the College of William and Mary. He plans to host the runs regularly, with the next one set for Thursday, September 19.