DES MOINES, Iowa — The Drake Relays officially began Sunday as thousands of people competed in the 55th annual Drake Road Races.
Three races — the 5k, 10k and half-marathon — led racers from the streets of Des Moines into Drake Stadium.
"The atmosphere, this whole thing, kind of keeps you going. It's like, this isn't just an ordinary fun run, this is the Drake Relays Road Race," said 5k participant Pat Schalapia.
For some racers, the annual event gave them a chance to reconnect with running.
"It feels pretty fun. It's fun. I ran track in high school, so kind of to come back and feeling nostalgia of, like, the Blue Oval, it's fun," Alicia Craig said.
Craig competed in the half-marathon. Her husband, Tyler, and son, Cameron, cheered her on the entire time.
"Me and Cameron, were driving all around trying to find parking spots. And we saw Mom twice, didn't we?" Tyler Craig said.
Attendance was high, bringing in approximately 600 runners for both the 5k and 10k and nearly 700 entrants for the half-marathon, despite the chilly conditions.
"The first mile was the hardest and the wind fortunately was at your back, so that helped.," said Bill Mech, who participated in the 10k.
While Craig's family made sure to stay bundled up on the sidelines and in the car, she said the weather helped with her run.
"So I feel like the cold actually makes me feel a little better. It was just cold in the beginning, but then you warm up fast," Craig said.
“It was a fantastic event featuring athletes of all ages and abilities,” Drake Road Races Director Tanner Nissen said in a press release. “There was a great team competition in the 10K that came down to the final stretch on the Blue Oval. The student cheering sections on 25th Street were amazing as we thank the excellent support of the Drake Road Races and Drake Relays.”
The Drake Relays presented by Xtream and powered by Mediacom are known for their track and field events, which begin Wednesday, April 26.
For a full list of events, click here.
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