locker room

April 28, 2011 |

By Amber Williams


Drake Relays by the numbers


The Drake Relays tradition is returning to Des Moines this weekend, and officials are expecting another great turnout this year. In 1924 the Drake Relays featured only 39 events. This year there are 115 areas of competition. Like the timed events and records each competitor tries to break, the Drake Relays tradition can be broken down by the numbers:

1 — The Drake Relays "Pole Vault in the Mall" at the Jordan Creek Town Center returns this year, and this is the first time women have been included in the competition.

2 — Two new events were added this year — the high school boys' 800-meter race and high school girls' 4 X 200- meter relay.

3 — A trio of athletes headline the Men's High Jump Crown Act this year — Dusty Jonas, Jim Dilling and Andra Manson — in the invitational men's high jump at the 102nd Drake Relays. They will compete against a talented field in the event beginning at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 30 at Drake Stadium.

4 — Four people per team will comprise 15 teams total at the Fake Relays, sponsored by the Greater Des Moines Partnership's Young Professionals Connection and the Drake Relays, which will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Court Avenue Entertainment District where they compete in a relay race and "spoof" track and field events.

5 — The Drake Relays "Pole Vault in the Mall" will involve five teams comprised of one female and one male joining forces vying for the championship based on the team's best combined finishing place of the five pairs.

6 — For the sixth straight year, the Drake Relays will host a Friday evening session beginning at 5:30 p.m. with the girls' high school preliminary 4 X 100-meter relay, concluded by finals in nine running events.

7 — The Saturday afternoon session will include seven field events and feature 36 races. It kicks off at 12:30 p.m. with the men's triple jump, which will kick off the Saturday afternoon session on April 30.

8 — The 8-kilometer and the half-marathon road races begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 30. The first session inside the stadium will also start with the high school girls' shuttle hurdle relay preliminaries.

9 — At nine minutes after 3 p.m., Webster City native Jenny Barringer Simpson, who has set records around the world, will return to Iowa for the Drake Relays. Simpson is a two-time USA outdoor champion and three-time NCAA champion. Barringer is the American record-holder in the steeplechase with a time of 9:12.50, set in a fifth-place finish at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin. She won the 2009 NCAA Championship at Drake Stadium in a collegiate-record time of 9:29.12 for her second NCAA title.

10 — Finish-line photos of the Jim Duncan Invitationals, the Drake Relays and the Boys/Girls State High School Track meet can be purchased for $10 each by e-mailing

11 — The tradition continues with the 11th annual distance carnival at 4 p.m. today with finals in the nine running events. Then tomorrow, preliminary heats in 10 races will start with high school girls' 100-meter hurdles at 8 a.m.

12 — The afternoon session, starting at 12:15 p.m. with the university and college men's 4 X 1,600-meter relay, will include 12 final running events.

While the athletes who compete in the Relays possess far reaching talents and deserve the limelight they attract, what about the "off-track" events that occur as a neighborhood tradition?

For example, the annual Drake Relays On-The-Road 8-kilometer and half-marathon races are celebrating their 43rd year. The race is a closing day event scheduled for 8 a.m. on April 30. Both races will begin adjacent to the Drake Stadium on Forest Avenue, and it ends near 25th Street and Carpenter Avenue next to the Drake Fine Arts Building. CV


Caption: The 102nd Annual Drake Relays return to Drake Stadium April 28-30.