DES MOINES, Iowa -- It’s easy for track lovers to make their way to the blue oval every April.
The Drake Relays are a track and field tradition. Al Purdy has only missed two of them and 47 years.
“I first came to the Drake Relays in 1971, I was in the fourth grade. My mom took me out of school for the Relays and I was hooked.”
However, the sport can be hard to get into if you don’t find a reason to get excited about it. The relays lead organizer realizes that.
“We are taking more and more steps to include more and more Iowans,” says Blake Boldon.
Relays director, Blake Boldon says inclusion has to be a part of the relays continued success and he’s looking beyond the athletic arena to accomplish that.
Take the Relay’s road race or grandblue mile that draws in thousands of non traditional spectators and participants. In 2014 athletes took to a metro grocery store to high jump through the produce aisle.
Whether spectators know much about the sport or not, organizer see events that offered community inclusion outside of Drake Stadium gives islands a reason to cheer.
“That achievement, that hard work whether they actually win or carry the championship flag around the track. It’s the journey and effort that we celebrate.”