(24-Jul) -- The 111th edition of the Drake Relays presented by Xtream was supposed to take place from April 22 - 25 in Des Moines, Iowa, but when the COVID crisis hit in late March organizers officially postponed it. However, they did not announce a new date. At the time they still hoped that the classic meet, first held in 1910, could be rescheduled.
PHOTO: Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa (photo courtesy of Drake University)
"The health, safety, and well-being of Drake Relays presented by Xtream participants and fans, along with guidance from local and national health officials, have been at the forefront of the decision-making process," read a statement on the Relays' website dated March 18. The statement continued: "We will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation and will work with local, state, and national officials to reschedule the Drake Relays presented by Xtream at a date that ensures the health and well being of participants and fans."
But it was not until yesterday --more than four months later-- that the meet was officially cancelled. The Drake Relays was the only USA track and field competition from the spring which had not been officially cancelled.
"The Drake Relays presented by Xtream has been known as America's Athletic Classic since the first half of the last century," said meet director Blake Boldon through a statement released yesterday. "Our event is known around the world as a week-long celebration of athletic achievement, featuring thousands of athletes and tens of thousands of spectators. It has become clear that current circumstances will not allow us to safely host an event that meets the standard set over the last 11 decades. While exploring every option, the safety of athletes, officials, spectators and our entire community has remained our highest priority."
In addition, the two road races held in connection with the Relays --the Grand Blue Mile, originally scheduled for Tuesday, April 21, and the Drake Road Races, originally scheduled for Sunday, April 19-- were also cancelled as in-person events and will be contested virtually, instead.
"Our entire staff has worked diligently to explore every possibility of hosting our events in person in 2020, including the Drake Road Races and Grand Blue Mile," Boldon explained. "The process has been challenging and the outcome is not what we desired. However, we have been reassured by the incredible show of support we've received from fans, coaches and athletes from Iowa, the nation and around the world."
The 111th edition of the Drake Relays presented by Xtream will be held from April 21 - 24, 2021.