Relays Rundown: Your Complete Guide to the 2024 Drake Relays 

Whether you’re a current student, returning alumni, or avid Bulldog supporter, there is something for everybody during the 2024 Drake Relays presented by Xtream powered by Mediacom.  

What’s New 

Returning for its 114th year, the Relays will feature a record 16 events for potential Olympians, including a ‘Thursday Night Throwdown’ competition for both men and women. New this year, the event will feature some of the world’s best competing in the javelin and hammer throws. There will be a men’s field and a women’s field for each event.  

This year’s Relays will again be an exclusive Silver Level event on the World Athletics Continental Tour, making America’s Athletic Classic one of the top track and field meets in the world for elite athletes hoping to compete in Paris this summer. View the full meet schedule for the 2024 Drake Relays and find tickets

From road races, beautiful bulldogs, and athletic feats to alumni parties, reunions, and on-campus events, there is a lot to look forward to this year. To help you plan out your ultimate 2024 Drake Relays experience, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide with the full relays rundown.  

For the Community
For Students
For Alumni
Full Event Schedule
Parking and Road Closures

For The Community 

The community is invited to get in on the Drake Relays action through a variety of events that are open to the public. Check out what you can look forward to at this year’s Drake Relays! 

56th Annual Drake Road Races 

  • What: The 56th edition of the Drake Road Races will take to the streets of Des Moines on Sunday, April 21, marking the official start to Relays Week. With three distances available—a 5k, 10k, and half marathon—there is a race available for all fitness levels. Those interested in participating in the race can still register. The general public is also invited to line the course and cheer on the racers.   
  • When: Sunday, April 21, 7:30 a.m. 
  • Where: Drake Stadium, 2719 Forest Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311 

45th Annual Beautiful Bulldog Competition  

  • What: This year, the historic Drake Road Races will be followed that same afternoon by the world-famous Beautiful Bulldog Contest presented by Ramsey Subaru where 30 bulldogs from across the region will compete for the coveted title of ‘Most Beautiful Bulldog’. The winner will serve a year-long reign as the Drake Relays mascot. The event is free, open to the public, and will also feature a Rescue Festival with local rescue and animal welfare organizations in attendance and a Kids Zone with family-friendly activities for all ages. 
  • When: Sunday, April 21, 1-3 p.m.  
  • Where: The Knapp Center, 2525 Forest Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311 

Vault At Jordan Creek 

  • What: The Drake Relays will host a pole vault competition, Vault at Jordan Creek, at the Center Court area of Jordan Creek Town Center in West Des Moines for the first time since 2014 and will hold a pole vault event outside of the Drake campus for the first time since 2019. The event is free and open to the public.  
  • When: Monday, April 22, 6 p.m. 
  • Where: Jordan Creek Town Center, 101 Jordan Creek Pkwy, West Des Moines, IA 50266  

Grand Blue Mile 

  • What: Presented by Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield in downtown Des Moines, the Grand Blue Mile is the Midwest’s premier community street run for all ages and abilities. Held annually since 2010, the Grand Blue Mile has hosted more than 35,000 participants from 36 states, six countries, and four continents. This year, there will be another chance to see a World Record set as the USATF 1-Mile Road Championships closes out the Grand Blue Mile. This marks the eighth consecutive year that national champions will be crowned for the 1-Mile Road Championships in Des Moines for both men and women. Register to run or watch from the sidelines and enjoy a variety of family-friendly activities. 
  • When: Tuesday, April 23, 6-7:30 p.m. 
  • Where: Western Gateway Park, 1205 Locust St, Des Moines, IA 50309 

Shot Put Showcase 

  • What: The Drake Relays Team Shot Put Showcase debuted last year and will be back inside the historic Drake Fieldhouse to be headlined once again by Drake Relays champion Ryan Crouser. The event is free and open to the public. In 2023, just weeks after setting a new Drake Relays record of 22.38m (73-5 ¼), Crouser established a new World Record of 23.56m (77-3 ¾). Both of these marks are in jeopardy when the two-time Olympic Champion returns to Des Moines.    
  • When: Wednesday, April 24, 6 p.m. 
  • Where: Drake Fieldhouse, 2701 Forest Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311  

For Students (open only to students, but credentialed media are welcome) 

Relays Week is packed full of activities across campus for students to enjoy—all organized by the Student Activity Board (SAB). Check out the full schedule of events open to students below. 

Paint Fight 

  • What: On Friday, join your fellow students for a fun Paint Fight at 4 p.m. on Painted Street.  
  • When: Friday, April 19, 4-5 p.m.  
  • Where: Painted Street, (Between Jewett Hall and Cowles Library)  

Street Painting  

  • What: Student organizations will gather at Painted Street to paint their own interpretation of this year’s Drake Relays theme, Reaching For Gold. All student clubs/organizations assigned to a square are responsible for purchasing their own paint.  
  • When: Saturday, April 20, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, April 21 from 12 to 5 p.m. 
  • Where: Painted Street, (Between Jewett Hall and Cowles Library)  

Drake Road Races Cheer Challenge (mandatory for all Painted Street participants)  

  • What: The 2024 Drake Road Races will be held outside Drake Stadium and finish on the Blue Oval. To celebrate participating athletes, student clubs/organizations can sign up in groups of a minimum of three to cheer on participants. Road Race participants will vote on the participating organizations and the winning organization will be awarded $500 by Drake Athletics. Organizations are encouraged to select a theme for their group. Organizations with a square on Painted Street will be REQUIRED to participate in the cheer challenge or they will be denied a square for Street Painting 2025.  
  • When: Sunday, April 21, 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. 
  • Where: Drake Stadium, 2719 Forest Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311 

T-Shirt Screen Printing  

  • What: Stop by in between classes to receive this year’s Relays t-shirts and tote bags. There will be a limited quantity, so be sure to get yours ASAP!  
  • When: Tuesday, April 23, 12-2 p.m.  
  • Where: Olmsted Breezeway 

Foam Pit Party 

  • What: Lights! Live Music! Foam?! Bring your friends and connect with your fellow students outside Olmsted for a unique and memorable party. This event is dependent upon suitable weather.  
  • When: Tuesday, April 23, 7-9 p.m.  
  • Where: Olmsted – Circle Pit 

Relays Carnival 

  • What: Join us at Helmick Commons for the Relays Carnival where there will be inflatables, go-karts, delicious food, student performances, and more. Waivers will be required for some activities. This event is being hosted in collaboration with the Student Activities Board (SAB) and La Fuerza Latina (LFL).  
  • When: Wednesday, April 24, 12-4 p.m.  
  • Where: Helmick Commons (The event will be moved inside if there is inclement weather) 


  • What: The Student Activities Board is collaborating with DrakeRec this year to host a dodgeball tournament. To play, you must sign-up through the DrakeRec app with a group of at least 5 players.  
  • When: Thursday, April 25, 7-9 p.m.  
  • Where: Bell Center Courts 2 and 3 

Paint It Black with the Coalition of Black Students (CBS) 

  • What: The tradition of Paint It Black began in November of 2018 when the Drake community gathered on Painted Street to cover student organizations’ squares with black paint. This act symbolizes Drake’s solidarity with students of color on campus. Every year since then, the Coalition of Black Students (CBS) hosts Paint It Black during Relays week to serve as a constant reminder that Drake can and needs to do better when it comes to supporting and protecting students of color.  
  • When: Friday, April 26, 4-6 p.m.  
  • Where: Painted Street, (Between Jewett Hall and Cowles Library)  

Drake Relays Concert 

  • What: Come enjoy this year’s headliner Waka Flocka Flame and opener Aux Cord Wars for an unforgettable night of music on Forest Avenue outside Drake Stadium. While this event was planned by SAB and oriented toward students, the event is free and open to the public. 
  • When: Friday, April 26, 9 p.m.  
  • Where: Forest Avenue in front of the Drake Stadium 

For Alumni (open only to alumni, some events require tickets. Visit the links below for more information) 

We are excited to welcome alumni back to campus for the 2024 Drake Relays! Check out this awesome lineup of events throughout the week that we’ve planned especially for you.  

Let’s DU Drinks at the Blue Oval 

  • What: Join fellow alumni and start your Drake Relays weekend at the Alumni tent on Thursday night! The Office of Alumni Relations has partnered with Drake Track and Field to host a social during the Thursday night of Drake Relays. 
  • When: Thursday, April 25, 6-8 p.m. 
  • Where: Drake Alumni tent, located on the North End of the stadium under the scoreboard 

Alumni Awards Ceremony 

  • What: Every year, Drake University bestows outstanding alumni with the Alumni Awards. All are invited to attend the awards ceremony recognizing this year’s winners. 
  • When: Thursday, April 25, 5:15 p.m. 
  • Where: Sheslow Auditorium, Old Main 

50 Year Reunion 

  • What: Join the Drake community and your fellow ‘74 classmates for the 50 Year Reunion. It’s a weekend of reconnecting with classmates, celebrating Drake, recalling college days, and making new memories. 
  • When: Thursday, April 25-Saturday, April 27 
  • Where: Drake University 

All-Alumni Tent Party 

  • What: Gather with ALL Alumni Bulldogs and meet old friends, make new connections, and celebrate together. It’s every class, every school, every college under one tent. 
  • When: Friday, April 26, 4-8 p.m. 
  • Where: Alumni Tent – Corner of Forest Ave. and 27th 

School of Education Alumni Gathering 

  • What: Please join us for a School of Education alumni gathering during the All-Alumni Tent Party during Relays! Register at the link to receive a complimentary drink ticket and connect with Dean Ryan Wise, School of Education Faculty, and fellow alumni. 
  • When: Saturday, April 26, 4-6 p.m. 
  • Where: Alumni Tent – Corner of Forest Ave. and 27th 

 Fleet Feet Alumni Social Run/Walk 

  • What: Join Fleet Feet Des Moines, owned by fellow alumni Andy Roat JO’83, for their Saturday Social Run/Walk to keep the excitement going during Drake Relays. 
  • When: Saturday, April 27, 8-9 a.m. 
  • Where: Fleet Feet Des Moines, 521 E. Locust Street 

Young Alumni Brunch 

  • What: What’s the best way to spend the Saturday morning of Relays? If you’re from the classes of 2013-2023, it’s at the Young Alumni Brunch! 
  • When: Saturday, April 27, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. 
  • Where: Alumni Tent – Corner of Forest Ave. and 27th 

LGBTQ+ Alumni Mixer 

  • What: In between all of the festivities, come to the Turner Jazz Center and relax at our casual LGBTQ+ Alumni Mixer hosted by the LGBTQ+ Alumni Association. 
  • When: Saturday, April 27, 12:30-2:30 p.m. 
  • Where: Patty & Fred Turner Jazz Center | Harmon Fine Arts Center 

Campus Tour 

  • What: No matter when you graduated, join us on this tour of Drake’s campus to hear how campus has transformed since you were a student. You’ll learn about campus renovations, community growth, and upcoming projects. 
  • When: Saturday, April 27, 1 p.m. 
  • Where: South Stairs – Old Main 

CPHS Alumni & Friends Gathering 

  • What: Looking for a place to watch the Relays? Join the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in SCB 301! 
  • When: Saturday, April 27, 3-5 p.m. 
  • Where: Science Connector Building, Room 301 

Black Alumni Tent Party 

  • What: Come join the Black Alumni Association for a party Saturday afternoon! Enjoy good company and take a stroll down memory lane with Drake fellow alums and friends. Food and drink will be available for purchase. 
  • When: Saturday, April 27, 3-6 p.m. 
  • Where: Alumni Tent – Corner of Forest Ave. and 27th 

Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology (BCMB) Program 25th Anniversary Celebration 

  • What: Join us in celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Drake University Biochemistry, Cell, and Molecular Biology (BCMB) Program. Reconnect with former classmates, alumni and faculty while celebrating the program and seeing the many changes on campus. 
  • When: Saturday, April 27, 1-3 p.m. 
  • Where: Science Connector Building, Room 301 

Relays SJMC Celebration & Meredith Unveiling  

  • What: Join us in celebrating the revitalization of Meredith Hall during Drake Relays weekend. Reconnect with former classmates, alumni and faculty while celebrating the renovations of this beloved space on campus.  
  • When: Saturday, April 27, 5-8 p.m. 
  • Where: Meredith Hall 

Parking and Road Closures 

Parking and travel on and around campus will be impacted Saturday, April 20, through Saturday, April 27. Public transportation is recommended at peak times, but if you plan on driving, give yourself plenty of time to find parking. Cars that are parked on the grass, illegally in handicap spaces, or blocking operations will be towed without notice. 

All valid commuter permits will be honored throughout the week, all day Thursday, April 25, and until 5 p.m. on Friday. Only residential permits are valid in residential lots and commuter permits in commuter lots, unless posted otherwise. The Olmsted and Ray Promenade lot still require the correct permit color to park in those lots before 4:30 p.m. 

  • Lot 17 (facilities lot) will be closed Saturday, April 20 through Sunday, April 28. 
  • Lot 18 S (Studio Arts) will be closed with no parking allowed from Wednesday, April 24 through Saturday, April 27. 
  • Lot 13 (Ray Promenade) will be closed from Wednesday, April 24 through Saturday, April 27. 
  • Forest Avenue will be fully closed from 27th Street to 29th Street from Wednesday, April 24 at 12 p.m. through Saturday, April 27 at 8 p.m. There will be limited access from 24th Street to 27th Street and from 29th Street to 31st Street. 
  • 27th Street will be intermittently closed between Forest Avenue and Clark Street from Wednesday, April 24 to Saturday, April 27. 
  • Clark Street will be posted as “No Parking: from 25th Street to 27th Street from Thursday, April 25 to Saturday, April 27.