One of the country’s longest-standing meets is hoping to get masters events back on its schedule. The 92nd annual Kansas Relays will be held April 17-20, 2019, at the university’s recently built Rock Chalk Park. The meet features several high school, college and university races, a unique quadrathlon format for Division I schools, and appearances by a handful of professional athletes.
Up until two years ago, it also had a few events for masters athletes. But the number of athletes over age 40 who would show up to run had been dwindling, causing the meet organizers to take those events off the schedule the past two years.
Pat Melgares of Manhattan, Kansas, is leading an effort to get Masters runners back on the track at the Kansas Relays. He’s got a commitment from meet director Milan Donley to get at least one event back on the meet schedule, but will have to recruit the masters athletes and get solid commitments by early 2019.
“The key right now is to show that masters athletes will show up,” Melgares said. “If we put together a field of masters runners, those runners have to show up. If they don’t, we’ll have egg on our face and lose a great opportunity to compete in a great setting.”
There will not be time standards for masters runners to compete at that year’s Kansas Relays. Melgares hopes to get the 800-meter run on the schedule, but if there’s sufficient interest, will petition Donley to add either a 1500 or the mile.
Masters runners who are interested in running at the 2019 Kansas Relays will need to apply for entry. To do so, contact Melgares at melgares@LetsGoRun.com to express your interest, and you will be kept updated on information related to the relays as well as the entry process.
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I ran the college 440 yd Hurdles at the 1975 Kansas Relays and saw the back of KU quarterback and future All-Pro LA Rams safety Nolan Cromwell all the way around. Years later When he showed up as a wide receiver coach with the Seattle Seahawks I called him up and asked if he was interested in masters track and field. Not with what football did to his knees was his reply.
One of my relation, Joe D. Schrag, wrote the definitive book on the history of the KU Relays. See: