It’s been three long years since the last Penn Relays, but at long last, they are back.
The 126th Penn Relays will invite athletes from across the country this Thursday through Saturday to Franklin Field. Whether you will be in attendance, or plan to keep up with the results, here are a couple of races you should keep an eye out for.
Women’s 100m Hurdles Elite — Saturday 2:12 p.m.
Penn Relays just added a fierce competitor to this lineup: Tokyo Olympics two-time gold medalist, Sydney McLaughlin. While her medals were in the 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay, she is still a strong contender for the 100m hurdles with a personal best of 12.65 seconds that ranks ahead of all her competition.
Among other strong competitors, McLaughlin is facing two-time Olympian Shermaine Williams, whose specialty is the 100m hurdles.
Men’s 110m Hurdles Elite — Saturday 2:17 p.m.
The 110m hurdles this year features competitors like Devon Allen and Omar McLeod. McLeod is an Olympic gold medalist and World Championship winner in the event. His most recent performance was at the Hurricane Alumni Invitational in Miami-Dade, Fla. on April 2, where he won the 110m hurdles with a time of 13.27 seconds.
Allen is a two-time Olympian, and in his most recent Games in Tokyo, he finished just a spot out of a medal finish. The University of Oregon alumnus just signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as a wide receiver, and will be preparing for the Relays in large part by taking part in organized team activities with the Eagles this week. Last weekend, he competed at the Navy Invitational and mustered up a 13.12 seconds time, the best in the world this year.
The two also have a shared history, with Allen having finished four spots back from McLeod during the 2016 Rio Olympics, earning him a fifth-place finish, and, during the 2017 World Championships in London, he finished eight spots back from McLeod for a ninth-place result.
Women’s 600m Elite — Saturday 3:47 p.m.
The 600m elite is one of the most stacked races of the weekend. Athing Mu won two gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics in the 800m and 4x400m relay, respectively. She also holds the U.S. record in the 800m with a time of 1:55.04, and during her most recent 600m race in March 2022, she hit a time of 1:24.13.
Ajeé Wilson, a two-time Olympian, will also be competing in the 600m. Wilson recently won the World Championships in the 800m, and her most recent 600m race was in February with a time of 1:25.59. The 27-year-old has been competing in the Penn Relays since her high school days, so she'll have the most experience out of anyone in her field coming into the race.
Another two-time Olympian, Natoya Goule, is also competing. A year ago, Goule and Wilson faced off in the 600m at the Adidas Boost Boston Games, and Goule won the race with a time of 1:24.00 compared to Wilson’s 1:24.007.
In addition to the Olympians in the event, Penn track and field's own Nia Akins will be returning to Franklin Field. A 2020 alumnus, she holds the Penn program record in both the indoor and outdoor 800m.