More Than A Relay: 2018 Penn Relays
BY GARY FANELLI
The 2018 edition of the Penn Relays is in the books, the 124th running of the Penn Relays, held in Philadelphia, PA, at Franklin Field, University of Pennsylvania, on April 26-28.
Did you know Penn Relays is the first Track Meet in history to start the concept of running relays with batons? This Meet is so much more than just relay although there are hundreds of them as well. At one point Penn Relays had a Marathon in the 1970s into the 1980s. One could receive the coveted Penn Relays Watch by capturing a 1st place in that event.
This year featured the Age Group 100 Yard Dash, where even people in their 90s could partake. School children as young as 10 years old can take part in fun relay races on Wednesday, so it seem everybody gets included in the Penn Relays from age 10 to 90-plus. That is quite a wide range and just show how huge and how opportunity and inclusion is afforded to everyone at Penn Relays.
There were so many fantastic highlight this year.
My favorites are on Distance Night Thursday where one can watch the Men's and Women's Steeplchase Races, Women's 3000 Meters, Men's and Women's 5000M and 10,000M races; the last race is a Men's 10,000 race and goes off at 11:05 p.m. It's quite the long day (night) at Penn for the weary runners because the Meet starts at 10 a.m. on Thursday.
I have to add that my favorite races are the High School Girls and Boys 3000M and One Mile Championship Runs, always showcasing the very top talent for High Schoolers.
Every race has some excitement to it and one of the most exciting events this year was the Boys High School Championship of America" 4×400m Relay, where Calabar of Jamaica won with the fastest time ever by any high school in the world when they outran many other Jamaican Teams to clock a 3:03:7, a world class time by any team. This beats the National Record of most countries for this event.
The Penn Relays start on a Wednesday and is a day for School Children to race in so many fun relays. I remember running in a 4×110 Yard Relay as a 10-year-old school boy. To me it was the greatest thing in the world, like Christmas. It was so much fun and very exciting.
Thursdays is Women's Day at Penn Relays, so many high school and college teams get to compete, and then it rolls right into the " Distance Night."
Friday events start in the morning with the hurdle races. Saturday's events start bright and early with Race Walk events at 7a.m.
The Penn Relays include people with handicaps participating in Relay events and the 100 Meter Dash, a favorite of the crowds. They get loud cheers. Kudos to Penn Relays.
About 40,000 people usually come out to watch Penn Relays.
The events usually go off exactly on time and Penn Relays has prided itself on this promptness. They have a great system and make it work. So many volunteers make all this possible.
If you have not been to the Penn Relays it is a very worthy "Bucket List" goal. I guarantee you, you will not be disappointed.
For Results, log on to www.Pennrelays.org.