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April 20, 2023

From tickets to parking, here's what you need to know about the 2023 Penn Relays

The nation's oldest and largest track meet returns to Franklin Field from April 27-29

Thousands of athletes and spectators are expected to crowd Franklin Field in University City next week for Penn Relays, the oldest and largest annual track meet in the United States. 

The Penn Relays will return to Franklin Field, located at 235 S. 33rd St. in University City, from Thursday, April 27 through Saturday, April 29. The massive athletic event will feature upwards of 15,000 athletes from across the world competing in extensive races for thousands of fans and onlookers.  

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The first Penn Relays took place at Franklin Field in 1895, with about 5,000 attendees and nine relay races. With high school and college athletes participating in the first race, entries for the second year quadrupled and more races were added, The Daily Pennsylvanian reported. As more schools from other parts of the country began to compete, Penn Relays grew in size and relevance among track runners. 

With the addition of carnival tents in the early 1900s, the Penn Relays became known as the Penn Relay Carnival. Several years later, Oxford University joined Penn Relays and made the track meet an international affair. By the 1970s, Penn Relays became more like the three-day festival that we know today, with tons of events and matches for people of all ages. 

Before making plans to attend this year's Penn Relays, check out this non-exhaustive guide on what to expect during the three-day competition. 

Tickets and Event Schedule

Tickets are required to enter Franklin Field. Fans can grab single-day tickets online starting at $25 per day. Those looking to purchase tickets in person can head to the Athletics Box Office on 33rd Street, the Northeast entrance of Franklin Field at South Street and Convention Avenue, Hecht Tennis Center in Penn Park or the Throwing Fields entrance under the South Street Bridge

Tickets for distance night races are available on the day of the event only and are $15. Tickets are general admission and valid for entry beginning at 4 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. 

Those looking to cheer on the runners from home can stream all the races live on FloTrack. The website offers a monthly and annual streaming plan for $29.99 per month and $12.49 per month for the year, respectively. 

Below is a brief schedule for the 2023 Penn Relays. A full, detailed schedule can be found on the Penn Relays website.  

• Thursday, April 27 (9 a.m. until 9:45 p.m.): high school boys, college distance night races and master's races for men and women ages 40 and older
• Friday, April 28 (9 a.m. until 9:15 p.m.): high school boys and girls, college men and women, Olympic development events and distance night races 
• Saturday, April 29 (7 a.m. until 6 p.m.): college men and women, high school girls and Olympic development events
Results from each of the races will be updated on the Penn Relays website in real time after each match, so spectators watching from home can keep track of everything happening on the field. 

Weather Forecast

It should be cloudy for much of the day on Thursday with a high of 63 degrees, according to the Weather Channel. The forecast gives way to some light showers throughout much of the day on Friday with a high of 61 degrees. The three-day festival will conclude with overcast skies and some rain showers on Saturday with a high of 63 degrees. 

Parking and Public Transportation

Spectators driving into University City for Penn Relays can find limited, paid parking on Penn's campus at four garages near Franklin Field. These include garages at 34th and Chestnut streets, 38th and Walnut streets, 40th and Walnut streets and the Penn Museum's garage at Convention Avenue and South Street.

Daily parking is first-come, first-served and is $25 per day. All garages are credit card only. The Penn Park parking lot will not be open to the public, but those looking for additional parking can search for other parking garages on the Visit Philadelphia website. 

For public transportation into University City for the festival goes, SEPTA has added additional service on the West Trenton, Warminster, Media/Wawa and Trenton Regional Rail lines for Saturday, April 29. The updated schedule can be found here

Commuters can access the field by bus, trolley, subway and Regional Rail lines for the duration of the festival. Check SEPTA's website for real-time system alerts and routes to plan your trip. 

For those driving into University City, city officials have yet to confirm any possible street closures for the Penn Relays, though drivers passing Franklin Field may experience some delays. Check back for updates about possible road closures and traffic advisories. 

What To Bring

Fans can enter Franklin Field on 33rd Street between South and Walnut streets. There will be a quicker entrance line for spectators without bags, and large bags are prohibited. Fans can bring soft-sided seat backs, cushions, food in a freezer bag, medically necessary items, blankets, binoculars, hand-held cameras, diaper bags, drawstring bags and service animals with paperwork.  

Coolers, glass bottles and cans are prohibited from the field. Weapons, poles, sticks, large video cameras, strollers, large food items, laser pointers, fireworks and smoking are also prohibited during Penn Relays. Personal items may be checked before fans enter the stands. 

Concessions and Activities

Carnival Village, located just outside of Franklin Field, will be packed with more than 20 vendors, pop-ups, and installations from sponsors like Toyota, On, Monster Energy, Grace Foods, Core Power and the U.S. Marines. There will be a large video projector streaming the Relays in Carnival Village so fans don't miss out on a second of the action. Over at Penn Park Village, sponsors will host activities for athletes and fans to enjoy.

For more information about special events, sponsors and race information, check out the official Penn Relays website

2023 Penn Relays Carnival

Thursday, April 27 through Saturday, April 29
Times vary | Tickets $19
Franklin Field at University of Pennsylvania
235 S. 33rd St., Philadelphia, PA 19104