As the 2012 Kansas Relays came to an end, I couldn't help but think that, although I enjoyed the meet, I left with an unsatisfied feeling. Maybe it was because, for no apparent reason, some old timer said to me on the way out, "Well, it was nothing like the old days when 30 thousand people came to Memorial Staium to watch this meet."
I don't really expect that anymore, but I get his point, given the mere thousands of spectators/athletes who peppered the stands this year.
Bershawn Jackson sure came to throw down. He set another meet record and world leading time with a 48.20, going away victory in the 400 hurdles.
Dee Dee Trotter also set a meet record and world leading time of 50.94 in the 400 for the victory.
But the men's mile was a complete let down. Former U of Nebraska runner and South African Peter van der Westhuizen won in 3:56.90, essentially going out with the rabbit in a separate pack from our illustrious Oregon guys who appeared to be on a training run collecting a pay check for the appearance, excepting AJ Acosta, who finished second in 3:57.08. Will Leer looked pretty slow, considering past performances.
I hope this meet continues, becuse it is one of the few full high school, college, and professional meets left, but can some American distance guys step up and make for some excitement, considering Jim Ryun shows up every year to greet and shoot the gun off for the high school 1600 and men's mile events.
Delta Timing Group - Contractor License
2012 KANSAS RELAYS
Memorial Stadium - University of Kansas - 4/18/2012 to 4/21/20
Event 92 Men 1 Mile Run Invitational
Glenn Cunningham Men's Invite Mile
Sponsored in Memory of Charles Bekaert, class of 1937
KU Relays: M 3:54.70 1967 Jim Ryun, Kansas
Name Year School Finals
1 Peter van der Westhuizen Unattached 3:56.90
2 AJ Acosta Nike 3:57.08
3 David Adams Lincoln Track Club 3:58.44
4 Nick Symmonds Oregon Track Club 4:01.57
5 Jordan McNamara Unattached 4:02.22
6 Will Leer Nike 4:02.50
7 Michael Coe Total Sports 4:04.70
8 Josh Munch Kansas 4:04.83
9 Joseph Eby Shocker Track Club 4:14.60
10 Jake Wike JR Wichita State 4:17.82
-- Matt Scherer Unattached DNF
World leaders or top marks for 2012 in the men's 400m hurdles, men's 110m hurdles, women's 400m and women's 100m. And a 3:56 outdoor mile wasn't too shabby.
They had a lot of great athletes, the downtown shot put and long jump were great.
It's a tough sell for some reason in the midwest. Huge stadium, twice as big as Drake.
Don't you believe him. The only time this meet cracked 30,000 was Ryun's comeback year of '72. The next best one-day attendance was 23,000, a year in the early 80s when the Soviets showed up. Ten or fifteen years ago this meet was about ready to disappear, but not now.
Probably the biggest crowd I've seen there in the past 20 years was back around 2004 when Maurice Greene brought his crew with him. Since he was from KC and the world record-holder, a large crowd came to watch (and he got beat).
track and field is a participation sport. the great legacy meets such as k relays have an astounding number of heats and entrants. if alls you want fat drunken bods in the stands try american football.
There were a number of huge crowds just 10 years ago. High schools from TX to MN and most of the big 8 schools. I saw billboards and posters everywhere and the stands were packed. Overnight this event went downhill. Looking at the heat sheets there are maybe half the teams and athletes from before. Looking at the stands just makes you sad.
I have not seen any reports on committed professional entries, but they do have the college and high school heat sheets up, and will hold the elite men's shot put and women's long jump at the downtown Lawrence location.
FYI, looks like this will be the last year for holding the meet in Memorial stadium, as the new track and field facility is planned to be open in time to host the 2014 Kansas Relays: