After a 34-year absence, history will be made this weekend when the Beloit Relays return to Strong Stadium.
“It’s a big deal and certainly one of the things we were most looking forward to when we were thinking about reconstructing Strong Stadium and Karris Track & Field,” says Director of Athletics and Recreation Peggy Carl. “The fact it’s returning is a wonderful and quite glorious thing.”
Plus: the first 300 fans to show up to cheer on the Bucs will get a free hotdog. Other concessions will be available for purchase.
Below, you’ll find a quick primer on the Relays:
1. What are the Beloit Relays?
Started in 1937 by former Athletic Director Louis E. Means, the Beloit Relays were one of the most popular small-college sporting events in the Midwest from 1937-1979. More than 10,000 athletes from over 50 colleges and universities have competed in the Relays.
2. When and where can you catch the Relays in action?
Beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 26 – Saturday, April 27 at Strong Stadium’s Karris Track. The Saturday events start at 12:30 p.m.
3. What events will attendees see?
“Everything you could possibly want to see at a track meet will be offered,” Carl says. Events include a variety of relay races, the discus throw, the javelin throw, the 3000m steeple chase, pole vaulting, hurdle races, the spotlight event of the 1500m, and more.
4. What teams are participating?
In addition to Beloit, teams from Knox College, Augustana College, North Park University, St. Ambrose University, Rockford College, Judson University, and Carroll University will be participating. Some unattached runners or throwers not affiliated with a particular college or university may also be involved, according to Carl. There will be no participants younger than freshman in college.
5. Why should people come to the Relays?
“It’s a piece of history the college has owned for decades that has been missing for decades, and it’s returning,” Carl says. “It’s always good when you can return a piece of history to its rightful place, and this is a great opportunity to come out and support our track & field team.”
6. Why did the Relays disband and why are they returning?
The Relays dissolved after 1979 because of difficulty in scheduling and the deterioration of the college track. The recent Strong Stadium renovations, however, allow for the Relays to return. The deteriorated track was completely removed and replaced with what Carl describes as a “very glorious and beautiful” NCAA competition-quality eight-lane track.
7. Will the Relays be returning to Beloit next year and in the years to come?
“Absolutely,” Carl says. “This is an annual event. In its previous life, there were three big national relays meets: the Beloit Relays, the Drake Relays, and the Penn Relays. Drake and Penn have been operating nonstop since the late 1800s. We have taken a hiatus, and now it is time for Beloit to be put back on the Relays map.”
8. It’s not too late to get involved.
“This meet is impossible to pull off without an army of volunteers,” Carl says. Volunteers are needed in a variety of tasks including setting up the track and field equipment, working the events, and assisting with tear down and clean up. Volunteers will receive some swag, according to Carl. Visit www.beloit.edu/beloitrelays and click on 2013 volunteer sign up.
For more information, visit www.beloit.edu/beloitrelays.