The World Comes to the Drake Relays

drake 2The Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee has announced the addition of 11 more world-class athletes to an already star-studded field that will feature a series London Games Rematches on the famed Blue Oval, April 24-28.

Those 11 additional athletes are highlighted by a 2012 London Olympiad gold medalist, two silver medalists, three bronze medalists and five other finalists in addition to the men’s American record holder in the pole vault.

“Today’s announcement of additional Olympic medalists and finalists competing at the 2013 Drake Relays is a direct result of our partnership with Hy-Vee and their on-going commitment to excellence in health and wellness throughout our community,” Brian Brown, the Franklin ‘Pitch’ Johnson Drake Relays Director said.

The inclusion of talents such as Christian Taylor, the 2012 gold medalist in the triple jump, women’s pole vault silver medalist Yarisley Silva, women’s high jump silver medalist Brigetta Barrett and bronze medalists Zuzana Hejnova (women’s 400-meter hurdles), Maryam Jamal (women’s 1,500 meters) and Mutaz Essa Barshim (men’s high jump) brings the total number of 2012 Olympic medalists confirmed to compete at the Relays to 22. All 22 and a host of other elite athletes will compete for the biggest prize purses on American soil with a $50,000 purse in each running event and a $25,000 purse in the field competitions.

Brown announced the complete ‘Hy-Vee Night at the Relays’ schedule for Friday, April 26, with an exciting slate of seven London Games Rematches. Those Olympians will be joined by collegiate, high school, middle school and elementary school competitions to make the evening one of the world’s premier track and field showcases for all ages.

“The London Games Rematch events during Hy-Vee Night at the Relays are central Iowa’s opportunity to watch some of the world’s greatest athletes compete at a nationally renowned Iowa tradition.” Brown said. “Friday night is filled with fun events for the fans and the participants as the shuttle relay, elementary 4×100-meter relay and many high school age athletes take the track along with Olympic medalists and world-class athletes.”

All told, 16 Olympic medalists will compete under the lights inside the Drake Stadium with three events – the men’s 110-meter hurdles, the men’s 400-meter hurdles and the women’s pole vault – each scheduled to feature the gold, silver and bronze medalists from the 2012 London Olympics. Tickets for Hy-Vee Night at the Relays are currently available with the Relays All-Session, All-American and Gold II ticket packages via the Drake Athletic Ticket Office. Single-session Friday night tickets go on sale March 25.

Brown was joined by Hy-Vee Director of Event Marketing Darin Hirl in announcing the courses for the Hy-Vee Road Races to be staged April 28 with all three races featuring an exciting finish inside Drake Stadium. The Hy-Vee Road Races cater to participants of all skill levels and reaffirms Hy-Vee’s long-standing commitment to health, wellness and fitness in its communities.

“Hy-Vee’s sponsorship of the Drake Relays reflects our commitment to promoting health and fitness,” Hirl said. “The Hy-Vee Road Races on Sunday will provide everyone in the community with the opportunity to take part in this iconic athletic event and run on Drake’s famous Blue Oval. It will be a memorable way to close out what promises to be one of the most exciting Relays ever.”

The Hy-Vee Road Races consists of three road races on Sunday, April 28, including a 6-kilometer race to benefit Character Counts in Iowa, a nonprofit organization headquartered at Drake that promotes the Six Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

The 10-kilometer race will benefit the Healthiest State Initiative with a course that stretches from the Drake campus to downtown and back to Forest Ave., for a finish on the Blue Oval. The Hy-Vee half marathon course encompasses some of Des Moines’ top landmarks from a jog through downtown, around the Iowa State Capitol, past Principal Park and Gray’s Lake before returning to the finish line inside Drake Stadium.

“Moving the Hy-Vee Road Races to Sunday presents participants with the ability to spend Friday and Saturday watching the other events, as well as the opportunity to finish on the iconic blue oval themselves,” Brown said. “While the road races are not new to the Drake Relays, this year’s Hy-Vee Road Races are taking place on Sunday with several new courses for participants of all skill levels.”

All three races are open to the general public with online registration available at and for all three races. All competitors will be eligible for the $120,000 in prize money available to the top finishers on the road courses.

Hirl and Drake Director of Athletics Sandy Hatfield Clubb also unveiled an updated Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee graphic identity designed to capture the exciting partnership between Drake and Hy-Vee.

The updated logo features the Drake athletic and Hy-Vee marks framed by a visual representation of the iconic Blue Oval.

The 104th installment of America’s Athletic Classic will be staged April 24-28. All-session and multi-session ticket packages that feature Hy-Vee Night at the Relays are currently on sale through the Drake athletic ticket office by calling 515-271-DOGS or visiting Single-session tickets go on sale March 25.

  • Ryan Brathwaite – Finalist
  • Ryan Braithwaite reached the finals of the 2012 London Olympics 110-meter hurdles for his native Barbados – of which he was the flag bearer – and recorded a fifth place finish. Prior to competing in the Olympics, he was the 2009 World Champion in the event with a personal best time of 13.14. He joins an already loaded field in the event at the Relays as the event will feature the gold, silver and bronze medalist from the 2012 Olympics.


  • Mutaz Essa Barshim – Bronze Medalist
  • Mutaz Essa Barshim earned a bronze medal for Qatar in his first Olympics with a jump of 7-6 (2.29m) in London. His personal best of 7-9.25 (2.37m) at the Asian Indoor Games set an Asian and Qatari record in the event. At the 2011 World Championships, he finished seventh and was a World Junior Champion in 2010.


  • Brad Walker – Finalist, American Record Holder
  • Brad Walker will compete as the reigning American record holder in the pole vault with a personal best of 19-9.75 (6.04) set in 2009. He qualified for the finals of the 2012 Olympics. He also finished third at the 2012 World Indoor Championships and second in the 2008 World Indoor Championships. In 2007, he won the World Championship in the event. He is also just one of eight athletes that have cleared 6.0 meters in the last decade. Two others in 2012 gold medalist Renaud Lavillenie and silver medalist Bjorn Otto will join him in the 2013 Relays field.
  • Steven Lewis – Finalist
  • Steven Lewis finished fifth in the pole vault at the 2012 Olympics with a vault of 18-10.25 (5.75m) in his native Great Britain. Prior to that, he finished fifth at the 2012 World Indoor Championships and ninth at the 2011 Outdoor World Championships. Earlier in 2012, he set the British record in the pole vault with a clearance of 19-0.25 (5.80m). He will add depth to an already incredible pole vault field that features gold medalist Renaud Lavillenie and silver medalist Bjorn Otto.


  • Christian Taylor – Gold Medalist
  • The 2012 Olympic gold medalist firmly solidified his status as one of the top triple jumpers in the world by adding a gold medal to an already sterling resume in just his second year as a professional competitor. Prior to leaping to Olympic gold, he was the 2012 USA Outdoor Champion and the 2012 World Indoor silver medalist. His amateur career featured three NCAA Championships. He will be joined in the 2013 Relays triple jump field by his college teammate from the University of Florida, Will Claye. Claye was the silver medalist in the event at the 2012 London Games.
  • Tosin Oke – Finalist
  • Tosin Oke finished seventh in the triple jump at the 2012 Olympic Games while competing for Nigeria. He has also represented Nigeria in a pair of World Championships and has twice won gold at the African Championships.


  • Maryam Jamal – Bronze Medalist
  • With her bronze medal in the 1,500 meters at the London Games, Maryam Jamal became the first athlete representing Bahrain to win an Olympic medal. The bronze finish was another accomplishment in an already stellar career that has included two IAAF World Championships in the 1,500 meters and a silver medal in the event indoors.
  • Jennifer Simpson – Olympic Finalist
  • Jennifer Simpson was a finalist in the 1,500 meters at the 2012 Olympics. In 2011, she won the event at the IAAF World Outdoor Championships to become the first American since 1983 to earn a gold medal in the event. She has also won USA Championships titles in the 1,500 and 3,000 meters and the 3,000-meter steeplechase – an event in which she owns the American record. As a collegiate competitor, she won four NCAA titles at Colorado.


  • Zuzana Hejnova – Bronze Medalist
  • Hejnova, a native of the Czech Republic, captured the bronze medal in the 400-meter hurdles at 2012 Olympics and owns the Czech Republic national record in the event with a time of 53.29.


  • Brigetta Barrett – Silver Medalist
  • The 2012 London Games silver medalist, Barrett cleared a personal best of 6-8 to win the United States’ lone medal in the event. She began her professional career with a 10th place finish at the 2011 World Championships. The four-time NCAA Champion in the event, she won both of her NCAA outdoor titles at Drake Stadium while at Arizona.


  • Yarisley Silva – Silver Medalist
  • The Cuban captured the 2012 Olympic silver medal by clearing her personal best height of 15-7 (4.75m). In 2011, she finished fifth at the IAAF World Championships and also participated in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She will join gold medalist Jenn Suhr at both the Pole Vault at the Mall and inside Drake Stadium in a field that also features Olympic finalist Becky Holliday.




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