Penn Relays Dart Into Franklin Field for 125th Running: Getting There, What to Bring and What to Expect

The three-day meet at the University of Pennsylvania attracts tens of thousands of participants, coaches and spectators

What to Know

  • The Penn Relays are being held at Philadelphia's Franklin Field from Thursday to Saturday.
  • The massive track-and-field meet features athletes young and old from around the world.
  • People should expect traffic trouble in University City through the end of the meet.

The Penn Relays, featuring track-and field athletes from around the world and right here in Philadelphia, is marking a major milestone this year.

The track meet, which gets underway Thursday, is celebrating 125 years of being hosted by the University of Pennsylvania. It is the country's oldest and largest track competition. (Click here for a brief history of the iconic event.)

The meet, held annually for decades at Franklin Field in University City, features school age, high school, collegiate, professional and older runners competing in track-and-field events over three days. Some of the famous people who participated in the Penn Relays include moon walker “Buzz” Aldrin, rap tycoon Sean “P Diddy” Combs, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, athletic icon Jim Thorpe, NBA legend Wilt Chamberlain and dozens more.

Expect some traffic trouble in University City and at the South Street Exit of the Schuylkill Expressway during the meet as buses, vans and other vehicles look to get close to the scene. 33rd Street from South/Spruce to Walnut streets is expected to be hard to navigate.

Here is some of the information you should know about the event:

Schedule of Events:

Thursday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.-ish – Mostly high school track events with a selection of college events as well.

Friday 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.-ish – Mostly school age, collegiate and master-level events.

Saturday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.-ish – High school, collegiate and professional events.

How to See the Action:

Tickets, starting at $18, are available for each day, as well as in three-day packages, on the Penn Athletics website or at the venue.

Getting There:

SEPTA is offering bus, trolley and regional rail service to the Penn Relays for fans and athletes alike. “Getting to Franklin Field is an easy walk from University City Station,” SEPTA says in its special online section dedicated to the vent.

Click here to check the NBC10 First Alert Traffic map, powered by Waze, before you drive to the meet.


Parking for $25 (credit card only) a car is available on Penn’s campus on a first-come, first served basis at these Penn garages:

  • Chestnut 34, 34th & Chestnut Streets
  • Walnut 38, 38th & Walnut Streets
  • Walnut 40, 40th & Walnut Streets

The Forecast:

Some isolated showers are possible Thursday, with a high near 70. There is a more likely chance for storms Friday with a high in the mid 70s. Conditions should be clear and cooler Saturday with a high in the mid 60s.

Wet weather is upon us for Friday after isoalted showers Thursday. NBC10 First Alert Weather meteorologist Brittney Shipp has clear, cooler conditions come Saturday.

What Spectators Can Bring:

No large bags are allowed but small clutches or handbags under 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches and clear plastic bags smaller than 1 foot by 6 inches by 1 foot (one gallon) are permitted. Security will search all bags.

Outside food is allowed into the meet but must be packed in the approved clear plastic bags. Fans can also bring in sealed plastic water bottles, juice boxes or pouches. Leave the coolers, booze and glass bottles at home.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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