The return of Relays from COVID
It’s almost that time of year again, and this year marks the 112th year that the Drake Relays have occurred. Unlike last year, though, the Relays are back at full capacity.
Last year, due COVID-19, only 25 percent of the available tickets were allowed to be sold last year. Low ticket sales were due to social distancing, allowing Drake to safely host the event.
The Drake Relays are a four-day event where track and field athletes from all ages get to compete. Participants include high schoolers, collegiate athletes and professional athletes, including the occasional Olympian.
The Relays take place right here on campus, at the Drake stadium. This year, the event will start on Wednesday, April 27 and go till Saturday, April 30.
Each day of the event will be packed with different events that are happening on the track.
This year’s Relays is even bigger for some people because this will be their first time being able to attend the event due to COVID.
Junior Kendall Hunt will be one of those people.
“I’m super excited for the chance to be able to attend Relays this year,” Hunt said. “My freshman year, the event was canceled due to everyone going home and having to quarantine because that was the start of the pandemic. As for last year, [the women’s tennis team] had our conference tournament, so we were gone for the weekend that Relays were held on.”
There are three things to look out for at this year’s Relays.
First, there will be Olympians running the invitational women’s 100-meter hurdles as well as the 400-meter hurdles.
Olympians will also participate in the invitational men’s 110-meter hurdles and the 400-meter hurdles.
There will be collegiate athletes running in the men’s and women’s 100-meter dash.
Some events are coming back this year that were not at the 2021 Relays, including the elementary shuttle, middle school distance medley and master 800-meter.
Finally, there will be the Grand Blue Mile Challenge.
Student athlete Mady Klebenow said she is excited for the Relays.
“I am excited to be in the presence of elite athletes, some of whom are even Olympians,” Klebenow said.
There are other events that are not happening on the track, including the Drake Road Races. This year there will be both in-person and virtual options available to people who want to participate in the event.
“I have not had the chance to attend Relays yet, so this will be a great experience to have here at Drake,” sophomore Ines Stephani said. “I’m looking forward to seeing some of the top athletes compete against one and other.”
The schedules for the high school, university and college meets will be available on the Drake Bulldogs website.
Drake University students who are currently enrolled will be able to attend the Drake Relays in the general admissions seating.