INDIANAPOLIS - Already host of one of the most celebrated track meets in the country, Des Moines, Iowa, will welcome America's best athletes for the 2010 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, USA Track & Field announced Thursday. Athletes will be competing for national titles and roster spots for the 2010 IAAF World Cup in Athletics in Split, Croatia
Des Moines, Drake University and the Des Moines Sports Commission will host the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships for the first time in 2010, providing U.S. athletes with one of the most unique and best-supported experiences the sport has to offer at Drake Stadium, which underwent extensive renovation in 2005.
For nearly a century, Des Moines has been the epicenter for track and field in the Midwest. Born in a snowstorm in 1910, the Drake Relays grew through the years to become one of the world's premier track and field meets. National Track & Field Hall of Famers Harrison Dillard, Wes Santee, Bobby Morrow, Bob Hayes, Frank Shorter, Steve Scott, Calvin Smith and Michael Johnson are among the tens of thousands of athletes who have competed at Drake from the high school through professional levels. Top recent women athletes competing there include world champion Perdita Felicien, three-time Olympian Suzy Hamilton, and multi-time Olympic medalist Merlene Ottey.
Held annually in late April, the Drake Relays has sold out on Saturday, its final day of competition, for 40 consecutive years, with roughly 18,000 fans attending each of those days. A total of 39,280 people attended the four-day Drake Relays in 2001 to set the all-time attendance record. Drake previously hosted the 1970 NCAA Championships and will do so again in 2008.
"For several years, we have wanted to bring one of our premiere events to Drake Stadium," Masback said. "The Drake Relays is truly a community event with phenomenal fan support, and that community spirit shone through in Des Moines' bid. We look forward to building a very strong partnership with local organizers for what will be an outstanding 2010 USA Outdoor Championships."
"When we completed the $15 million renovation of Drake Stadium in 2006, we envisioned that the facility would make Drake and Des Moines the Midwest capital of track and field," Drake President David Maxwell said. "We look forward to hosting the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in 2010. This event is a huge plus not only for Drake but also Des Moines and Iowa as a whole."