Skip to Content
Skip Sub Menu

Drake Relays

How many universities offer up-close, even behind-the-scenes, access to a world-class track and field meet? At Drake, you’ll have an unparalleled opportunity to experience one of the nation’s premier track and field events: The Drake Relays.

But ask any Drake student, and they will tell you the Relays is much more than a track meet. In fact, many students say Relays is the greatest week of the year.

America’s Athletic Classic

Founded more than a century ago, the first Relays events were conducted before a crowd of about 100 people. Today the track and field meet is one of the most renowned in the nation. As a Drake student, you’ll have free access to this showcase event that attracts more than 40,000 spectators, 220 college and university teams, and world-class athletes. It’s truly something to behold. Major track and field records are routinely broken on Drake’s legendary “Blue Oval” track by some of the finest athletes alive. It’s common to see Relays participants compete in the summer Olympic games, and vice versa. 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.

Community Traditions

As a student, the Relays provide you an exceptional way to connect with classmates, alumni, community members, and track and field fans from around the world. Every year the crowds gather to celebrate in an ever-growing number of community traditions, including Street Painting, alumni reunions, an indoor pole vaulting contest, and an all-ages mile run through the heart of downtown Des Moines.

Unparalleled Campus Excitement

On campus, Relays festivities transform the University with a palpable vibe of excitement. You can help generate this unique atmosphere through involvement in the Student Activities Board, a student-run organization that hosts a week of events just for the Drake community. Or, you can do your part just by participating.

The most memorable Relays event for most students, by far, is Street Painting, a tradition when every student organization paints a square of concrete along a street that runs in front of Cowles Library. The paint never stays confined to buckets and brushes, and students inevitably transform one another into living works of art.