The Drake Relay is one of the nation’s premiere track and field events that takes place right here on Drake’s campus every year. This event attracts more than 40,000 spectators, 200 college and university teams as well as world-class athletes. Drake students are at the forefront of the excitement, whether they’re seated in the stands, competing in Relays events, or helping to produce the largest student-run television broadcast in the nation. However, Relays is so much more than a track meet to Drake students. Campus and the surrounding community really come to life during this week with community traditions such as Downtown Street Painting, alumni reunions, indoor pole vaulting event and a mile run through downtown Des Moines.
Many of the events that take place on campus are organized by the Student Activities Board that works year round to plan the week of events around Relays. The week is kicked off with Blitz Day, an event that takes place in Olmsted Center with games, food, entertainment and some major announcements. It is during this event that the Relays Committee announces the theme for Relays Week, the band that will be performing at a concert on campus and the Relays host and hostess. Some events this year include a run around campus followed by a pancake breakfast, a carnival, a hypnotist and finally the concert that takes place right outside the Drake Stadium. There will also be two services opportunities during this time; a Habitat for Humanity build on campus and Book Bash which invites local youth to come on campus for an afternoon of reading, crafts and snacks, each student will also leave with a book to take home. The most memorable Relays event for most students is Street Painting, a tradition when student organizations have the opportunity to paint a square of concrete along a street that runs in front of Cowles Library, the squares remain painted for a year until the following Relays week. This inevitably turns into students painting each other as well!
Drake Relays is truly a special time on campus and something students look forward to each year.