Top Five Relays Moments

Want to learn about more of the Drake Relays’ greatest moments? Check out the official Drake Relays Facebook Page for an extensive timeline plus photos.

With 102 years of history, the Drake Relays has had plenty of great moments. Here are the top five, according to Brian Brown, the Franklin P. Johnson Director of the Drake Relays:

1. 1994 — Carl Lewis, already an international star, helps shovel snow from the track before running in and winning the 100-meter dash.

2. 1996 — Michael Johnson competes in the 200 Special Invitational just months before winning the event (as well as the 400) at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, GA.

3. 1935 — Jesse Owens of Ohio State wins the 100-yard dash and the long jump a year before dominating the Olympics in Berlin, Germany.

4. 1979 — Steve Scott becomes the first athlete to break the 4-minute mark at the Relays with a time of 3:55.26.

5. 1961 — Wilma Rudolph, who in 1960 became the first woman to win three Olympic gold medals, wins the 100-yard dash with a time of 11.1, becoming the first woman to win a Drake Relays event.

More Top Relays Moments

A few more of the most memorable moments in Drake Relays history — with contributions from our Facebook fans.

1910 — The first ever Drake Relays takes place on April 23. Fewer than 100 fans are in attendance and are forced to huddle around bonfires to stay warm in an unexpected blizzard.

1922 — The Relays expands to a two-day event for the first time.

1961 — Three-time Olympic gold medalist Wilma Rudolph wins the first women’s race at the Drake Relays, a 100-yard dash she completed in 11.1 seconds. (See more on Rudolph and her amazing life).

1967 — Jim Ryun breaking away from the pack to lead his Kansas team to a come-from-behind victory in the four-mile relay. — Rose Tobler Sparks, PH’70

1970 — Frank Shorter and his friend Jack Bacheler joining hands as they crossed the finish line to tie for the six-mile run title in 1970. “One of top five sporting events I’ve witnessed ever.” — Tom Thoma, JO’71

1970 — Brigham Young’s Ralph Mann sets a Relays, American and national collegiate record in the 400 hurdles. He returned to Drake a month later to set the world record at the 1970 NCAA Outdoor Championship.

1988 — Following a campaign for his release, Mugsy — the then recently-anointed Beautiful Bulldog — is pardoned from impound after having accidently cut a student’s nose with his teeth. — Denise Rathman, AS’88

1993 — Iowa’s Anthuan Maybank is named outstanding performer of the Relays after becoming the first person ever to run a sub-45-second 400, and complete a long jump of more than 26 feet in the same meet.

1995 — “Dressing as the mascot to sneak onto the infield and shake hands with Carl Lewis.” —Donald Feinstein, JO’95

2001 — The Illinois women’s shuttle hurdle relay team sets a world record with a time of 52.85.

2007 — Alan Webb breaks the 30-year-old Drake Relays record in the mile with a time of 3:51.71. (Watch it on YouTube)

Every Year — “Street painting, tent party, mud volleyball, West End Breakfast and so much more.” — Laurie Coats Hayes, PH’95

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