Skipping the Drake Relays

If you’re a big track fan or live in Iowa, you know about the Drake Relays. America’s Athletic Classic has been held since 1910. It’s this weekend and for the first time in probably 28 years, I’m not going. (If you’re interested in learning more about the Drake Relays, check here.)

Tim ran in last weekend’s Drake Relays Half Marathon, which they promoted as the Relays kickoff event. It used to be either the Saturday of the Relays or the Sunday after. It’s actually nicer, for both the runners and spectators, since they moved it to the weekend before as it makes it easier to run and also attend the Relays. (You can read more about my support of a long distance runner here.)

Tim almost to the finish line at Drake Stadium

We decided not to go this year for a couple of reasons. First, Tim doesn’t have a lot of days off and being a mail carrier, he has to work on Saturdays. Second, he had to use a day off last Saturday in order to run in the half marathon. We made the decision earlier this year that we’d skip the Relays until he retires.

Drake Relays weather

You can never predict what the weather will be for the Relays. It is Iowa in April you know!! We’ve had sun, rain, wind, snow and even had to evacuate once because of thunderstorms.

Dressing in layers is the safest bet because it can be chilly in the morning and warmer in the afternoon. Where you sit also affects whether you have wind or sun in your face.

Since Tim and I started going to the Relays together, we haven’t had very good luck with the weather. I think the first year we went it was nice and last year was good. But the years in between were not. Rain, cold and wind. Our rain gear was definitely used a lot.

And as I’ve gotten older, it’s harder to get excited about sitting in the rain all day. Maybe I’m smarter now? I’d still do it, but it’s simply harder and harder each year to want to dress for cold and/or rain.

As we’ve dealt with all that cold and rain, we’ve made sure we have waterproof gloves. Do you know how cold your hands get once they get wet? Even hand warmers didn’t do the trick. I think mine got too wet to work!!

Some great times too

When the weather cooperates, it’s great to be there. I love watching the athletes compete. Iowa high schools are included in the events and Tim always reminisces about when he ran here.

2018 – it’s sunny!!!

Over the years, some big names have been at the Relays. There are always special invitational events and especially during Olympic years, we’ll see star athletes in person. In 2013, 25 Olympic athletes competed.

We’ve seen athletes go from high school to college and pro, such as Lolo Jones. She’s always a crowd favorite.

Unfortunately, we’ve only been able to go on Saturday the last few years. All the big races used to be that day, but as they’ve tried to get bigger crowds, they’ve moved some to Friday. And all the long distance races are Thursday night. If your time there is limited, you have to miss out on a lot of good stuff.

Also to attract more people over the years, the Relays has branched out beyond Drake Stadium by holding pole vault and high jump events in malls and even grocery stores. They definitely draw big crowds.

We’ll go again

I usually buy a T-shirt when we go to the Relays. Guess I won’t get one this year. But that’s OK. I don’t need any more shirts and I know we’ll go again anyway.

Today’s weather is nice. Well, at least the sun is shining. It’s a little windy and it could be warmer, but I’d take this day over many of the other days I’ve been there.

Tomorrow? Well, here’s the current forecast: A steady rain in the morning. Windy with showers continuing in the afternoon. High 57F. SE winds shifting to N at 25 to 35 mph.

If that’s what truly happens, I feel bad for the athletes and the fans. But at least I know I won’t be trying to figure out what to wear tomorrow so I can sit in the rain all day.

2 thoughts on “Skipping the Drake Relays”

  1. I ran track in H.S. and used to read about the Drake Relays from our team subscription to Track and Field News. I used to dream of participating in it during Walter Mitty moments. How cool that you can go each year.

    1. Yes, I think it’s easy to take it for granted and we don’t always realize how lucky we are. Today’s weather has turned out to be awful so I’m not missing it much. I’m happier being inside with my buddy Brutus. 🐈

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