Quick Facts: 

Penn Relays began in 1895

The design for the Penn Relays plaque and medal was executed by Dr. R. Tait McKenzie in time for the 1925 meet

Women’s events first began at the Relays with a 100-yard dash in 1962

Automatic timing was first used in 1977

The goal of the Penn Relays is a simple one – to provide the best track and field competition for the greatest number of participants of all levels, ages, and abilities. Each spring, more than 15,000 student-athletes from high schools and colleges around the nation visit Philadelphia to compete in the Penn Relays. Even though more than 100,000 fans annually attend the action at Franklin Field, the expenses of operating a major sporting event such as the Relays are considerable. In addition to security, maintenance, cleaning, staffing, and facilities improvements, the Penn Relays also supplements the travel expenses for many of the intercollegiate teams. Those expenses have continued to rise each year while the event’s revenues have remained relatively stable.


Gifts to the Friends of the Penn Relays play a critical role in meeting the rapidly escalating costs of running one of the premier Track and Field events in the world. Past improvements to Franklin Field, such as 77-foot matrix scoreboard and jump runways installed in 2005, were made possible by the generous support of donors to the Friends of the Penn Relays and Penn Athletics. Now more than ever, your contributions can make a difference if the Penn Relays are to continue its unique position as one of the world’s great sporting events. Your commitment to this proud tradition is greatly appreciated and we urge you to consider making an investment in the future of the Penn Relays.

Penn Relays VIP Experience


There is no experience in track and field like The Penn Relays.  For over 120 years, the world's elite track and field athletes have converged upon the University of Pennsylvania's Franklin Field to compete in front of one of the most passionate crowds in sports.  This year, for the first time ever, patrons of The Penn Relays can enjoy a VIP Experience unlike any other.

Donors of $1,000.00 or more to the Friends of the Penn Relays will have access to the following for themselves and one guest:

  • The Finish Line Club - a private, track-side viewing area adjacent to the finish line in the infield

  • VIP Hospitality Suite overlooking the track at Franklin Field

    • Alternative menu and beverage options are included

  • Parking adjacent to Franklin Field

  • Photo opportunities with winning Relay teams and Penn Relays Wall of Famers

  • Post-race press conferences with USA vs. The World championship teams