Expect enhanced security, championship efforts at Penn Relays

Posted: April 26, 2013

It's time for the 119th edition of the Penn Relays, which features more than 20,000 athletes from elementary schools to Olympians to masters over 75 years old competing in 322 events from Thursday through Saturday at Franklin Field. No matter your tastes, there's something in this huge track and field buffet for everyone.

Things to remember. Patience, please. Because of the bombings at the Boston Marathon, security has been intensified. Spectators are not allowed to bring backpacks, large bags (gym bags, duffel bags), or coolers into Franklin Field. The regulations will be strictly enforced, which means more meticulous searches.

While athletes, coaches, and medical personnel may bring in backpacks by showing proper credentials, the bags will be thoroughly examined, so make sure you allow plenty of time to get into the stadium prior to your event.

An Olympian welcome. No fewer than 14 runners who won gold medals at the 2012 Olympics in London will be on hand for the USA vs. the World relays Saturday, including the entire U.S. women's 4x400 team and three members of the women's 4x100 unit from the United States.

Welcome, world. Runners from 11 countries, including high schools in Zimbabwe and South Africa, will be taking to the track. As always, Jamaica, with four colleges and 26 high schools, boasts the largest contingent.

Hello, champs. Seven individual champions and three relays champions from last month's NCAA indoor championships are on hand at Penn, including women's 3,000- and 5,000-meter titlist Abbey D'Agostino of Dartmouth, and men's high-jump champ Derek Drouin of Indiana, a two-time Penn Relays winner.

Don't blink. Oregon junior English Gardner, a graduate of Eastern High School in South Jersey, ran the fastest time in the world last weekend in the women's 100 meters, clocking an even 11.00 seconds. She is expected to run Thursday in the heats of the 4x100 and 4x400 and in Friday's sprint medley relay championship.

Leave the car at home. Traffic around Franklin Field is never a joy during the Penn Relays, so public transportation is encouraged.

SEPTA's Route 40 bus stops at Franklin Field, and the 21 and 42 will take you to 33d and Walnut, a short walk away. The base fare is $2 (exact change only).

The Airport, Media-Elwyn and Wilmington train lines have a University City stop, less than 100 steps from the southeast stadium entrance.

Tickets, tickets. Ticket prices Thursday and Friday are $18 for general admission and $24 for north side reserved. On Saturday, prices range from $35 to $55.


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