Kansas Relays

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Kansas Relays
Kansas Relays Logo.jpg
Tournament information
Location 1651 Naismith Drive
Lawrence, Kansas
Dates Third Thursday in April–Third Saturday in April
Established 1923
Administrator(s) University of Kansas
Format Track and Field

The Kansas Relays are a three-day track meet every April, held at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. Since 1923, the Kansas Relays have attracted runners, throwers, and jumpers from all over the United States of America, bringing in athletes ranging from Olympians to high-schoolers. Olympians such as Marion Jones and Maurice Greene compete in the Gold Zone portion of the meet, which attracts thousands of spectators every year.[1] Competitors have also broken world records at the meet. The 2004 Olympic champion, Justin Gatlin, was a prominent athlete to fail a doping test at the Kansas Relays.


The Kansas relays were founded by John H. Outland, the head football coach at the University of Kansas, in 1923. He got the idea for the Kansas Relays from the Penn Relays. The Penn Relays are held at the University of Pennsylvania and is the oldest and largest track meet in the United States. Outland attended the University of Pennsylvania for medical school and where he first saw the Penn relays. John Outland thought that there should be an event like the Penn relays in Kansas so in 1920 he approached Kansas basketball coach Forrest Clare Allen, also known as Phog Allen, who was also the athletic director and football coach at the University of Kansas. Three years later in 1923 the Kansas relays were founded.[2]

More than 600 athletes participated in the 1st annual Kansas relays on April 20, 1923.[3] During the relays early years the meet featured collegiate athletes in track and field such as Tom Poor, Ed Weir, and Tom Churchill were some of the athletes who later competed in the Olympics.[1][3] Tom Poor was the first to win the high jump event in Kansas Relays, with a jump of six feet and a quarter inch.[3] He later went on to place fourth in the 1924 Olympics. Ed Weir set a world record for the 120 meter high hurdles at the Kansas Relays in 1926. With world-class athletes competing in the relays, the first decade of the relays paved the way for the Kansas Relays to be a major event in the track and field event in the Mid-West.

1962 was the first year that female athletes were able to compete in the Kansas Relays and by 1976 women were competing in a number of different events.[3] In 1996 a new event was added for women, the pole vault. Stacy Dragila was the first women to win this event and set an American record at the Kansas Relays. In 1997 the Kansas Relays added the 3000 m steeplechase to the women’s events.

The Kansas Relays have been held every April with the exception of 1943, 1944, and 1945 because of World War II. After World War II, Memorial Stadium, where the Kansas Relays are held, was used as housing for students. Since then, the Kansas Relays were held every year until 1998 and 1999, when the relays were cancelled because Memorial Stadium was being renovated.[3] The last time the relays were cancelled was in 2002. The officials were forced to cancel the last day due to severe weather.[1]

The Gold Zone[edit]

In 2005, the Kansas Relays added a new section: the Gold Zone. The Gold Zone was created because the relays started to lose the interest of spectators and athletes. Tim Weaver, then the meet director, created the Gold Zone to bring in more interest for the Relays[1] and create a three-hour meet-within-a-meet. The Gold Zone was a part of the meet that features some of the best athletes in track and field in the top events. 24,000 spectators came to see former American Olympians, world champions, and top NCAA athletes compete in various events in the first Gold Zone.[4] The events included in the Gold Zone include finals for all the dashes (100m, 400m, hurdles, etc.), 4x100 meter relay, 4x400 meter relay, the high jump, pole vault, the women's 3000 meter steeplechase and the men's one mile run.[5] Marion Jones, Maurice Greene, Jearl Miles-Clark, Amy Acuff, and Nick Hysong are some of the Olympians and world record holders that have competed in the Gold Zone. Gold Zone II drew over 26,000 fans in 2006 making the track meet one of the top ten largest in the world.

Justin Gatlin doping test[edit]

Olympic gold medalist in the 100 meter Justin Gatlin tested positive for testosterone at the Kansas Relays 2006. On April 22, 2006 Justin competed with his teammates, Sprint Capitol, in the 4x100 meter race at the Kansas Relays. Justin and his team took first place with a time of 38.16 seconds.[6]

On July 29, 2006, Justin Gatlin announced to the media that he had tested positive for high levels of testosterone at the Kansas Relays. Justin Gatlin was facing a lifetime ban from track and field, because he had already tested positive for an amphetamine 2001 at the Junior Olympics. It was determined that the amphetamine came from a prescription he had been taking for years.[7] Justin avoided the lifetime ban by cooperating with doping authorities. On December 31, 2007 it was announced that Gatlin would be banned from track for four years, which made him ineligible to compete in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.[8]

Meet records[edit]


Event Record Athlete Nationality Date Ref
100 m 9.95 (+0.8 m/s) Ivory Williams  United States 17 April 2010 [9]
Mile 3:54.70 Jim Ryun  United States 1967
400 m hurdles 48.32 Bershawn Jackson  United States 19 April 2008 [10]


Event Record Athlete Nationality Date Ref
200 m 22.32 (+0.9 m/s) Veronica Campbell-Brown  Jamaica 17 April 2010 [11]
Hammer throw 66.40 m Sara Savatović  Serbia 17 April 2015 [12]


  1. ^ a b c d "Kansas Relays History". www.kuathletics.com. 2006. 
  2. ^ "Unforgettable Hawks". www.kusports.com. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Kansas Relays History". www2.kusports.com. 
  4. ^ "U.S. stars to headline GOLDZONE II at Kansas Relays". www.coolruning.com. 
  5. ^ "2005 Gold Zone". www.kusports.com. 
  6. ^ "Kansas Relays Results". KUJH online. 2006-04-21. Retrieved 2006-04-21. 
  7. ^ "Sprinter Gatlin fails doping test". www.rediff.com. 2006-07-30. Retrieved 2006-07-30. 
  8. ^ "With four-year doping ban, Justin Gatlin won't be eligible to defend Olympic 100-meter title". www.encyclopedia.com. 2008-01-01. 
  9. ^ "Jamaican sets 200 record at Kansas Relays". www2.kusports.com. 2010-04-18. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  10. ^ Bob Ramsak (2008-04-20). "Jackson's 48.32 400m Hurdles win Highlights the Kansas Relays". IAAF. Retrieved 2011-04-24. 
  11. ^ "Jamaican sets 200 record at Kansas Relays". www2.kusports.com. 2010-04-18. Retrieved 2004-05-20. 
  12. ^ "Women's Hammer Throw Quadrangular (Final)". 17 April 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 

External links[edit]