April 27, 2016
Thursday marks the start of the 122nd annual Penn Relays –— the oldest, largest and most celebrated track and field competition in the United States. Men and women from the high school, college and professional track ranks will participate in 35 hours of competition from April 28-30, representing more than 60 countries from around the world in more than 425 races.
RELATED CONTENT: Photo Gallery: The 122nd annual Penn Relays
Over the course of the three-day event, an estimated 22,000 runners will compete at Franklin Field, which is expected to draw more than 100,000 people to the West Philadelphia campus of the University of Pennsylvania.
Here's a guide to essential information you'll need for the 2016 Penn Relays.
Franklin Field, 235 South 33rd Street
Thursday, April 28 - Saturday, April 30
Thursday: 10 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
- High School Girls, College Women, Nighttime Distance Races
Friday: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
- High School Boys & Girls, College Men & Women, Olympic Development Events
Saturday: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- College Men & Women, High School Boys, USA vs. The World
The National Weather Service forecasts mild to chilly temperatures throughout the event, with light winds and a chance of showers during the first two days of competition. All events will be held rain or shine.
Thursday: Showers likely, mainly after 2 p.m. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 60 degrees. Northeast wind 6 to 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent. At night, showers likely, mainly before 8 p.m. Cloudy, with a low around 46.
Friday: Chance of showers, mainly after 2pm. Cloudy, with a high near 56. East wind around 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent. At night, chance of showers, mainly before midnight. Cloudy, with a low around 44.
Saturday: Partly sunny, with a high near 62. Northeast wind around 6 mph becoming easterly in the afternoon.
General Admission and Reserved Seating options are available for both single-day attendance and three-day packages. Tickets can be purchased online here, by phone at 215-898-6151, or at one of five campus ticketing booths in the vicinity of Franklin Field. A map of these booths, along with the event locations for various competitions, can be referenced below.
Single-day ticket prices range from $18 (GA) to $24 (reserved) while three-day packages will cost anywhere from $66-108 (not including fees) depending on seat locations for each day of events.
A VIP pass can purchased with a $1,000 donation to the Friends of the Penn Relays, which offers plus-one access to the Finish Line Club and the Hospitality Suite overlooking Franklin Field. VIP ticket holders will receive an alternative menu and beverage options, free parking outside the stadium, photo opportunities, and post-race press conference access.
The Penn Relays will be streamed live on FloPRO's FloTrack portal, which requires a paid subscription. NBC Sports Network will broadcast Saturday's events live from 12 p.m.-3 p.m.
Visitors driving to the event from across the region can review applicable directions provided by the University of Pennsylvania. A map of nearby parking garages can be viewed here. Metered street parking is available, however, there is usually a 2-3 hour limit at about $1.50 per hour. Some garages will charge a flat fee with varying prices. The following garages are recommended on a first-come first-serve basis:
• Walnut 40 Garage (credit card only, $25)
• Walnut 38 Garage (credit card only, $25)
• Chestnut 34 Garage (credit card only, $25)
• Walnut 32 Garage
• Law Lot
• Ludlow 34 Lot
• Penn Park Lot
Those taking public transportation from around the region are advised to use SEPTA's Market-Frankford subway line and get off at either 34th and Market streets or 30th Street Station, which is about a 15-minute walk from campus. SEPTA's Green Line trollies can also be taken to either 36th and Sansom Streets or 37th and Spruce Streets.
For those who park off campus, shuttle service will be provided for a fee to get to and from Franklin Field during the course of the Penn Relays. More information on shuttles can be found at Campus Park & Ride Information on hotel accommodations can be found here.
Last year, the United States pulled off a clean sweep of the Men's USA vs. the World events in 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400. The U.S. women also took the 4x200 but came in second behind Jamaica in the 4x100 and 4x400. These events, held on Saturday, will give the U.S. men and women a chance to defend an impressive 2015 showing.
Events at the Penn Relays aren't just limited to young athletes, either. As The New York Times covered in depth, 100-year-old Ida Keeling will participate in the Masters Mixed 100 meter dash on Saturday at 3:45 p.m. She'll take on several members of the Philadelphia Masters, including 99-year-old Champ Goldie and 95-year-old George Scott.
Local events to watch for include the Philadelphia Area High School Boys' 4x400 on Saturday at 5:10 p.m., Philadelphia Area High School Girls' 4x400 at 5:15 p.m., and Philadelphia elementary and middle school relays (Catholic, public and charter schools) on Friday between 10:20 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
A complete schedule of events for the 2016 Penn Relays can be found here.