Des Moines’ Economy ‘Comes Alive’ Around Drake Relays

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Friday and Saturday are the busiest days during the week of Drake Relays.

The races start at 8 a.m. on Friday with lots of high school and college races all leading up to Hy-Vee Night at the Drake Relays starting at 5 p.m.

There are quite a few Olympians competing and Drake Relays Director Blake Boldon said there is one in particular to look forward to.

“We’ll see a huge rematch of two Iowan Olympians, Shelby Houlihan from Sioux City and Jenny Simpson who grew up in Webster City. Simpson is a bronze medalist from the Rio Olympics and those two ladies will be here showing off their talents,” Boldon said.

They will be competing in the 1500 meter race at 8 p.m. on Friday.

Boldon said the Drake Relays are also an amazing time for local businesses.

“Our estimated economic impact from a year ago is over $13 million. Hotels, restaurants, the city’s economy comes alive around the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee,” Boldon said.

Boldon added the combination of local celebrations and relay excitement are all part of the tradition surrounding the relays.

“Every one of our champions, high school, university, college and professional, get that famous little white flag that says Drake Relays Champion and they go and do a lap around the stands. Many times they get to sign autographs, get those selfies with the kids and it will be a lot of fun for everyone in attendance,” Boldon said.