The 2002 Penn Relays, the oldest and largest relay carnival in the world, is right around the corner. This year the Penn Relays is celebrating its 108 running on Thursday, April 25, Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27. The relays always fall on the last weekend of April with this year being no different. Talented athletes from local schools, the region, state and other countries will be competing in the track and field events, as well as special events that are conducted every year.
The Penn Relay’s popularity has grown with age. Last year over 48,000 people packed into the stands for the final day of the relays. The city markets and parking lots surrounding Franklin Field were mobbed by the crowds of fans and competitors. All over University of Pennsylvania’s campus, relay teams were spotted as they warmed up for their events.
Last year, Olympic champion runner Michael Johnson, the five-time Olympic gold medallist, nine-time World Championship gold medallist and 200 and 400 meter world record-holder was given a standing ovation after helping the U.S. team finished at 2 minutes, 58.60 seconds in the 4x 400 meter relay. It was his last race at the relays. He retired at the end of the season. Chants of “USA” could be heard in unison throughout the entire arena when Johnson jogged his last victory lap waving to his audience with a grin.
This year athletes of all kind, from grade school to Olympic competitors, will be striving for the same excitement and success of breaking old records and setting new ones.
To purchase tickets for the carnival before the opening contact the University of Pennsylvania’s athletics ticket office at (215) 898-6151. Tickets may also be purchased at the gates.