Washington has the cherry blossoms, San Juan Capistrano the swallows, and we have the Penn Relays. The nation's oldest and largest amateur track meet will bring top athletes from 35 countries and fans from all over together again for the 104th time on the last weekend in April. Officially, it's the Penn Relay Carnival, and all the activities that surround the event justify the use of the word, but the track and field events remain the heart and soul of Penn Relays weekend.
The Relays officially begin on Thursday, April 23, with high-school, collegiate and Olympic development events.
Friday's daytime events showcase the track and field stars of tomorrow, with junior high and high school teams from across the country competing in a number of events, as well as races for Philadelphia fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders.
Saturday's highlights include the men's and women's Olympic-development 4x100- and 4x200-meter relays, the collegiate 4x400-meter championships, the collegiate women's 100-meter hurdles and the men's Olympic-development mile and 4-mile relays.
Can't make it in person? Results will be posted in real time on the Internet at the Relays Web site, which contains a complete schedule of events and more information.
Originally published on April 16, 1998