LAWRENCE, Kan. — The Kansas Relays, which celebrates its 93rd edition from April 13-15, has been awarded the Planet Athletics Heritage Plaque.
The award marks the 100th anniversary of the Kansas Relays, hosted by the University of Kansas and founded on April 21, 1923. The occasion has been held every single year considering that, except for 1943-1945 (Planet War II), 1998-1999 (stadium renovations) and 2020-2022 (Covid-19).
The Planet Athletics Heritage Plaque is a place-primarily based recognition, awarded for ‘an outstanding contribution to the worldwide history and improvement of the sport of track and field athletics and of out-of-stadia athletics disciplines such as cross nation, mountain, road, trail and ultra-operating, and race walking’.
USA’s Planet Athletics Council Member Willie Banks, former triple jump planet record-holder, commented: “Significantly, the award of the Planet Athletics Heritage Plaque marks the return of the Kansas Relays, final held in 2019, following the pandemic.
“The annual 3-day celebration of the really very best of track and field in Lawrence, Kansas, which completely deserves this recognition, has been the stage of numerous fantastic performances by planet and Olympic medallists and planet record-breakers.
“Over the final hundred years the Kansas Relays, from seniors to higher schoolers, has established itself as 1 of the most significant invitational track and field competitions in the USA.”
Director of Athletics Travis Goff mentioned: “This is a meaningful recognition for 1 of the really very best track and field events in the planet that we proudly host correct right here in Lawrence, Kansas. There is tremendous anticipation for the Kansas Relays to return this year – its 100th anniversary – and we appear forward to some of the really very best in the sport to take a look at Rock Chalk Park and encounter a meet they will try to remember for the rest of their lives.”
Head Coach Stanley Redwine added: “We are honored that Kansas Relays is getting this prestigious Heritage Plaque from Planet Athletics. We are excited to celebrate one hundred years of Kansas Relays memories serving the University and neighborhood. I’m thankful that our AD Travis Goff is committed to hosting the Relays for years to come.”
1923 to 2023: From Memorial Stadium to Rock Chalk Park
The Kansas Relays came to fruition thanks to Kansas University’s football coach Dr. John H. Outland who, even though studying medicine in the University of Pennsylvania, had been impressed with the Penn Relays (1895).
Outland’s dream was shared by Kansas University’s Director of Athletics Forrest C. ‘Phog’ Allen and, with the completion of the Memorial Stadium in 1922, they discovered an acceptable venue to make the relays a reality. The following year, ably helped by the university’s track coach Karl Schlademan, Outland and Allen staged the 1st Kansas Relays. Much more than 600 athletes played out to a crowd of about 7000.
More than the decades an illustrious cast has been drawn to Lawrence. Jim Bausch, Glenn Cunningham, Al Oerter, Bill Neider, Billy Mills, Jim Ryun, Nawal El Moutawakel, Kenny Harrison, Jearl Miles Clark, Nick Hysong, Maurice Greene, Stacy Dragila, Joanna Hayes, Trecia Smith, Bershawn Jackson, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Allyson Felix are but a handful of of the extended list of fantastic names to have graced the Kansas Relays.
Coincidentally, the Planet Athletics Heritage Collection includes a copy of the Kansas Relays programme from 1948, which offers a snapshot of the meeting’s greatness. Amongst the numerous standout performances in that 23rd edition, Harrison Dillard and Charles Fonville set planet records respectively at the 120 yards hurdles (13.six) and in the shot place (17.68m) on 17 April 1948.
In 2005, to assistance attract spectators, the then meeting director Tim Weaver made ‘The Gold Zone’, which was correctly a 3-hour planet-class meeting inside the 3-day occasion. The following year the elite window attracted a headline crowd of 26,000.
Additional innovation occurred in 2011 when the shot place was moved out of the stadium and held in downtown Lawrence, to engage the meeting straight with the regional population. Considering that 2014, following the removal of the track from the Memorial Stadium which became solely a football field, the meeting’s household has been in the new stadium of Rock Chalk Park.