The Drake Road Races is a school tradition that has occurred for over half a century, and despite expressed doubts from the Des Moines community, COVID-19 is not about to get in the way of the popular event. The Road Races is a series of running races including a 5K, 10K, and half marathon held at Drake University
This year, Drake will be hosting the Road Races as the official start of the Drake Relays April 17-25.
Students and staff are eager to participate in the Road Races again after missing out in 2020.
“I was so sad to have missed all the Relays events last year,” said Drake student Vanessa Torres. “I am really looking forward to being able to participate in the fun events this year, even if there are COVID protocols.”
Given the pandemic, the Road Races will be a hybrid format with participants being able to run virtually or in-person.
The virtual running will take place from April 17-25, while the in-person running will only take place April 18.
Lizzie Deal, a sophomore at Drake University, will be running the virtual race.
“I signed up for the Drake Road Races because I did a virtual fun-run last spring with my family when I was sent home from school and I loved it,” Deal said. “I thought the Road Races sounded like fun opportunity to get exercise and participate in Relays week.”
The virtual race is self-paced and can be done at any time from anywhere. Participants can design their own route for the race and use a stopwatch or GPS to record their time. Participants can submit their time and see where they placed in comparison to other runners.
Overall, the virtual race is a great opportunity to exercise and engage in friendly competition over Relays week.
“I’m looking forward to the Road Races because I signed up with a friend of mine and am excited to do something different from my daily routine,” Deal said. “I also am thrilled to be able to support the Drake athletics program and Drake Relays.”
The in-person race will start outside Drake Stadium and finish on the Blue Oval. Only 2,000 participants will be allowed, and runners will be staggered at the start to encourage social distancing.
After the races conclude, all finishers of the Drake Road Races will receive a commemorative finisher’s medal and a long sleeve quarter-zip.
“Everyone should sign up. I mean, this is such an exciting, rare opportunity to get to explore the Drake and Des Moines community with friends, all the while getting exercise,” Torres said.