Penn Relays

2021 Penn Relays Canceled Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

This year’s event was scheduled to take place at the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field in Philadelphia on April 22 through April 24. 

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What to Know

  • For the second year in a row, the Penn Relays, the nation’s oldest and largest track and field competition, have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • This year’s event was scheduled to take place at the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field in Philadelphia on April 22 through April 24. 
  • Despite the cancellation, a spokesperson for the event said they plan to host a local collegiate-only track and field meet on Saturday, April 24, if health conditions on Penn’s campus and in the city of Philadelphia continue to improve.

For the second year in a row, the Penn Relays, the nation’s oldest and largest track and field competition, have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The University of  Pennsylvania Division of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics made the announcement on Thursday. This year’s event was scheduled to take place at the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field in Philadelphia on April 22 through April 24. 

"We are extremely disappointed to cancel the Penn Relays for a second year," Dave Johnson, the Frank Dolson Director of the Penn Relays, said.  "At the same time, we feel a strong obligation to the local track and field community to provide as much competition as safely possible during the course of the spring and summer." 

Despite the cancellation, a spokesperson for the event said they plan to host a local collegiate-only track and field meet on Saturday, April 24, if health conditions on Penn’s campus and in the city of Philadelphia continue to improve. That meet would be made up of local Division I, II and III schools within the Philadelphia region. All teams would also have to comply with COVID-19 campus safety protocols and only essential meet personnel would be allowed at Franklin Field. 

"It is disappointing that we once again have to cancel one of the landmark events of the spring in Philadelphia and in track and field, but collectively we want to ensure the safety of our athletes, campus, community, and spectators," Dr. M. Grace Calhoun, Director of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Pennsylvania, said.

"Our goal on campus has been to safely move through the Ivy athletic activity phases to host competition and we remain hopeful that we will be able to provide some competitive opportunities for as many athletes as possible who have missed out on so much this past year. Splitting the meet into three distinct group of participants provides the greatest opportunity to host safe competition."  

The Penn Relays will also aim to host a meet for open and professional athletes in the coming months before the U.S. Olympic-qualifying deadlines and a scholastic meet this summer. 

The Penn Relays were also canceled last year due to the pandemic. It was the first time the event had been canceled since its inception on April 21, 1895. 

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