The 103rd Drake Relays start Friday with the university’s beloved street painting, kick into gear Monday with the Beautiful Bulldog Contest and continue into next week with some of the nation’s best track and field athletes.
The Relays are a time for a swarm of Drake University colors to surround that famous blue track as high school and collegiate athletes compete for glory. Relays are a time for Drake pride (and those with no Drake connection can find something to do as well), Olympic athlete spotting and lacing up your own running shoes. On your mark, pick your own adventure below from parties to half-marathons, and go.
Break From the Books — For the Students
The dreaded finals are approaching and Relays is the perfect staycation for students. It’s like football homecoming for the Big 10 schools. Students can watch the Relays for free and will recommend actually going to the races, not just the weeklong parties.
When: 4-7 p.m. Friday
Where: In front of Cowles Library (look for people running around in paint)
The street was recently painted over in white to make a blank canvas for the new round of bright squares. Campus organizations submitted designs to be chosen for squares on the street. The theme this year is “Memories in Motion.” People painting the squares get the respect and space while revelers splatter paint on everything else that moves. Flash your Drake I.D. to get into the paint party.
When: 11:45 p.m. April 28
Where: Alumni tent behind Jethro’s BBQ, 3100 Forest Ave.
Nosh on pancakes during this annual event. Free with Drake I.D.
Hypnotist and Comedian, Dale K
When: 7-8 p.m. Monday
Where: Parents Hall in Olmsted Center
Prepare to be dazzled by the power of suggestion by the hilarious hypnotist Dale K. He performs in more than 200 cities a year from small venues to Fortune 500 company parties, so we take it he’s good.
Back-To-School — For the Alumni
Jump into nostalgia. Bust out the Greek letters, hit the old stomping grounds and take a stroll through campus to remark how it’s all still distinctly Drake (even the dining hall).
All Greek Reunion
When: 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Greek Street house tours, 4-8 p.m. All Greek Reunion April 28
Where: Alumni tent on 32nd Street and Forest Avenue
It seems like yesterday you were still chanting, raising money for philanthropy and making memories with your brothers and sisters. Chapter-specific events vary. Register for the event at alumni.drake.edu /allgreek2012
When: Noon April 27-10 a.m. April 29
Where: Various places, check schedule at alumni.drake.edu
Price: Prices vary on number of events attended
This weekend-long reunion features a number of highlights including a barbecue with current Drake students, a reception for the retiring Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Academic Excellence Wanda Everage, and the high-spirited step show.
When: 1-3 p.m. April 28
Where: Scott Branson Plaza, Helmick Commons
Price: $20 per person
Celebrate a decade of post-college accomplishment.
Little Bulldogs — For the Family
Adults toting tots can join in the blue and white fun. Buy the little ones a small Drake shirt and then take their photo atop the bulldog statue on the west Forest Avenue stadium entrance.
When: 1-2 p.m. Saturday
Where: The route will start on 25th street, go west on University Avenue, north on 30th Street, east on Forest Avenue, then south on 25th Street to the end.
Watch Greek and Drake organizations compete for the best relays float.
33rd Annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest
When: Judging, 10:45 a.m. to noon; pageant, noon-1 p.m. Monday
Where: Drake University Fieldhouse
More than 100 bulldogs compete for the crown of Beautiful Bulldog. Some will sport costumes, others will simply pant their way to glory. Additional titles include Best Dressed, Mr. and Ms. Congeniality and Oldest bulldog. Reigning beauty Lucy will preside over the ceremonies. Note the location move to the Drake Fieldhouse.
Jordan Creek Pole Vaulting
When: 6:15 p.m. April 25
Where: Jordan Creek Town Center, 101 Jordan Creek Pkwy., West Des Moines
Yes, pole vaulting … in a mall. Jenn Suhr, world’s No. 1 ranked pole vaulter, will headline the competition. Suhr set the world record at the 2010 Drake Relays.
A Des Moines Love Story — For the City
Drake and the city of Des Moines join forces to take the celebration outside the stadium.
Grand Blue Mile
When: 6:15 p.m. April 24
Where: In the Western Gateway Park, right before the corner of 13th and Locust Streets
Cost: $30 adult registration, $15 youth registration through Sunday
We recommend the recreational division if you’re just starting to lace up those running shoes, but if you’re feeling aggressive, sign up for the competitive one. All ages, disabilities and running ability are welcomed in the recreation division. Register online at grandbluemile.com.
Downtown Street Painting
When: Noon-4:30 p.m. April 25
Where: Court Avenue between Third and Fourth streets
Cost: Business rate $250; Nonprofit/community organization $150. Sign up by Friday.
Just like the Drake University campus street painting, but a little more civilized. Companies and organizations can purchase a square and then paint it for judging. Logos and designs will be walked on by pedestrians all year.
Annual On-the-Roads Half Marathon and 8K race
When: 8-11 a.m. April 28
Where: In front of Drake Stadium, 2719 Forest Ave., Des Moines
Cost: $55 half marathon, $45 8K through April 26
You don’t have to be sporting a team jersey to run this course around the Drake neighborhood. All half- marathoners receive a medal upon completion of the course. Not a runner? Cheer on your friends at the finish line on 25th Street and Carpenter Avenue. Head to godrake bulldogs.com to register and gather packet pick-up information.
Drake Relays tickets
Buy tickets in advance at drakerelays.org or by calling 271-3647.
Thursday, April 26: Afternoon: $5
Friday, April 27: Afternoon: $20-$35; Evening: $10-$20
Saturday, April 28: $40
Package deals: For multiple days. These range $25-$85.
3 track and field events not to Miss
Men and Women’s Pole Vault: 10 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. April 27.
Distance Carnival Events: 4-5 p.m. and evening session “Under the Lights” 7:30-9:30 p.m. April 26.
400-meter Hurdles Finals: 1:23-2:24 p.m. April 26.