Every April at Franklin Field on the University of Pennsylvania campus, the crowds can roar louder than fighter planes.
That was the case when Chantilly, Va., native Sean McGort made history on Friday, setting a new Penn Relays record in the high school boys’ mile.
His time of 4:04.47 crushed the previous meet record of 4:08.07. This is the fastest record set by a high school boy so far in 2013. It was an especially competitive race, as two other runners also beat the old record.
This year’s 119th Penn Relays, held April 25 through 27, featured nearly 18,000 track and field athletes from the junior high, high school, college, and professional levels from across the nation and around the globe.
Athletes came to Philadelphia from more than 30 states and nearly 60 countries, including Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, South Africa, Trinidad, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Zimbabwe.
Officially known as The Penn Relay Carnival, the oldest organized relay competition and the largest amateur track meet in the United States was established in 1895. Back then, nearly 5,000 people attended. This year, the Penn campus and its many vendors welcomed more than 100,000 visitors over three days.
Penn Relays competitions include the javelin throw, discus throw, hurdles, distance medleys, pole vault, long jump, and the high jump. The most popular events may be the USA vs. the World competitions. This year marked the 14th installment of the USA vs. The World races, pitting teams of professional American track stars against the best international runners in six different relay races. The U.S. swept the 4x400 races, part of a four-win day in front of 48,871 fans on Saturday.
Over the years, track legends such as Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Carl Lewis, Justin Gatlin, Marion Jones, Allyson Felix, and Sanya Richards have competed in the Penn Relays.