DES MOINES, Iowa--The Drake Relays, Iowa's premier sporting event, will feature 120 events during the 103rd running of the track and field extravaganza, April 25-28, at Drake Stadium.
The 120 events are the most in event history and narrowly eclipse the previous high of 119 in 2010.
The men's special invitational 200 returns this year after a two-year hiatus as world leader Wallace Spearmon looks to break Michael Johnson's Drake Relays record in the event.
The men's special invitational 400 hurdles is also back this year, as 2010 Drake Relays champion Javier Culson and four-time Drake Relays champion Justin Gaymon headline the field.
The women's special invitational 400 hurdles returns after an absence from the 2011 Relays. Queen Harrison, a versatile hurdler who ranks fifth in the world in the 100 hurdles, leads the talented field.
Two new events have been added: The men's and women's 800-meter wheelchair races.
Competition will begin with the heptathlon and decathlon on Wednesday and Thursday. The heptathlon begins at noon Wednesday and 10:30 a.m. Thursday, while the decathlon starts at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday and 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
The 12th annual distance carnival starts at 4 p.m. Thursday with finals in nine running events.
Preliminary heats in 10 races will be held Friday morning, starting with the high school girls' 100-meter hurdles at 8 a.m.
Finals in 12 running events are slated for the afternoon session, beginning at 12:15 p.m. with the university-college men's 4x1600-meter relay.
For the sixth-consecutive year, the Drake Relays will host a Friday evening session beginning at 5:30 p.m. with preliminaries of the high school girls' 4x100-meter relay. Finals in 13 running events will conclude the evening session.
The Saturday session (April 28) will begin at 8 a.m. with the 8-kilometer and the half-marathon road races. The first session inside the stadium also will start at 8 a.m., with high school girls shuttle hurdle relay preliminaries.
The Saturday afternoon session, which features finals in 39 races and seven field events, begins at 12:30 p.m. with the men's triple jump.
Two additional events introduced in recent years return in 2012 to add more excitement to the festivities. For the third year in a row, the Grand Blue Mile will take place on Tuesday, April 24, in downtown Des Moines to kick off athletic events of Relays Week.
The "Pole Vault in the Mall" at Jordan Creek Town Center on Wednesday, April 25 at 6 p.m. features some of the best men's and women's pole vaulters in the world.
Tickets for the 2012 Drake Relays April 25-28 are on sale now, and may be purchased online through the official Drake Athletics website (www.GoDrakeBulldogs.com) or by calling (515) 271-DOGS (3647).
DRAKE RELAYS EVENTS BY THE DECADE
Listed below are the numbers of events that have been held in previous decades of the Drake Relays: