DES MOINES (DU) — Drake University announced today that Hy-Vee, Inc., will serve as the presenting sponsor of the Drake Relays in a partnership that promises to enhance and elevate the already sterling reputation of the Drake Relays.
“The Drake Relays is one of the crown jewels of track and field — an event that has transcended athletic competition to become a true community celebration,” said Randy Edeker, chairman, CEO and president of Hy-Vee, Inc. “Hy-Vee is thrilled to partner with Drake as the university builds on a proud tradition and ushers in an exciting new era for the Relays.”
Part of that exciting new era is more than half a million dollars in purse money for a field that currently features 16 medalists from the 2012 London Olympic Games and a world record holder already confirmed to compete at the Relays with more to potentially join the star-studded field at a later date. Those Olympians and professional athletes will compete in ‘London Rematches’ for a $50,000 purse in the running events and a $25,000 purse in the field events. The purses are the largest for an event in the United States and $20,000 more than is offered by the Diamond League, the sport’s top professional circuit.
The Relays and those athletes, including 2012 Olympic gold medalists Aries Merritt, Felix Sanchez, Renaud Lavillenie, Jenn Suhr, and Brittney Reese, will be featured on ESPN2 with 90 minutes of action being broadcast to nearly 100 million homes in prime time.
In addition to the enhanced level of professional competition inside Drake Stadium, the partnership with Hy-Vee will also invigorate the Relays’ road races with $120,000 in prize money awarded to the top finishers in the Wellmark Grand Blue Mile, 10-kilometer race, half marathon, and a new 6-kilometer race staged in conjunction with Character Counts in Iowa. The 6-kilometer distance is representative of Character Counts in Iowa’s Six Pillars of Character – Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. Character Counts in Iowa will receive a portion of the proceeds from the 6-kilometer race.