The competitive fire and color of track and field are multiplied and heightened in relay racing where so many more athletes take part in so many more events. This Friday and Saturday the Penn Relays, oldest of dozens of U.S. relay events, are being run for the 61st consecutive year at Philadelphia's Franklin Field. Even when the meet is threatened by rain, as it was when the pictures on the following four pages were taken, dyed-in-the-wool relay addicts still turn out by the thousands. Only if he is a human IBM machine can the relay fan hope to keep abreast of the activities of the 3,400 runners and jumpers and tossers of weights from 500 colleges and schools taking part in the Penn Relays' more than 100 separate trials and heats and finals. Although Penn has led the way in evolving the relay meet as a strictly American phenomenon, other regions have developed their own relays, notably Drake University in Iowa, where the Drake Relays also take place this weekend. For a special SI report on U.S. relays past and present, turn to page 19.
Batons clutched in hand, the lead-off men in the two-mile relay bunch together behind Fred Ashmore of Oklahoma A & M as he hugs the curb around the first turn. Hidden in the ruck is Terry Foley of Fordham whose team, anchored by the great Tom Courtney (see cover), won the event in meet-record time and a month later set a new world record for the distance.
YOUTHFUL RUNNERS FROM 10 HIGH SCHOOLS NERVOUSLY AWAIT SECOND LEG OF MILE RELAY. ONE YAWNS, ANOTHER FIDGETS, A THIRD RESTS HAND ON POST. FRANCIS KEENAN OF VICTORIOUS CRANFORD HIGH (FIFTH FROM RIGHT) THOUGHTFULLY TOES GROUND
Highjumper Bernard Allard of Notre Dame grimaces as he straddles bar, hits it with his straining thigh.
May 1, 1955
Eyes on the sky, javelin thrower is one of hundreds of athletes who compete in individual events at Relays.
Gleaming trophies are charge of Charles I. Clegg (left), custodian of trophies at the Penn Relays since 1895.
Arms flung high, Pennsylvania Pole Vaulter Bob Owen, son of 1923 vault winner, watches unhappily as the crossbar beneath him drops from the uprights. A Penn teammate with hands on hips looks glumly up at Owen while another Penn man in white sweat shirt reaches out to catch the pole. Loser at Relays, Owen later won the IC4A title.