DES MOINES, Iowa – The Drake Relays is celebrating 10 years of pole vault at this year's competition.
Originally held at the Jordan Creek Town Center, the indoor pole vault was meant to bring one piece of the relays out into the Des Moines community.
Since its debut the sport has been moved to its new home at Capital Square.
Director of Drake Relays Blake Boldon said having it at this location is special.
“It’s special to the crowd, because you can literally be an arms reach away from the best athletes in the world, and the pole vault is somewhat exotic. Not very often do you get to see men flip themselves upside down from 19 feet in the air. But then really, with the mezzanine level here at Cap Square they get to look straight in the eye with world class athletes,” Boldon said.
Boldon said there are 10 athletes competing in the competition, and six of those are Olympians.
Boldon said to look out for Sam Kendricks who is a reigning world champion, Olympian, and serves in the United States Army Reserve. “One of the biggest stars in the world for track and field is Sandi Morris. She is the American record holder in the pole vault. She has gone over five meters, so that is more than 17 feet, and truly has one of the biggest social media followings in this sport.”
The athletes have three attempts to go over each height that is set.
“We have our pole vault runway surveyed and certified by the IWAF, so these results do count. It’s a unique set of circumstances, but that is why the athletes love this event. No matter the weather, we’ve got sunshine today but that’s not always the case, so matter no matter the weather they get a great competition with extraordinary fan support in an intimate setting,” Boldon said.
For the first time Big City Burgers and Greens will have a boutique concession stand at the pole vault.
Drake Relays pole vault begins Wednesday night at 6:00 p.m. at Capital Square.