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Jesse Day Invite

Runners stay packed together at the start of the boys 3,200-meter run Friday at the Jesse Day Invitational. (John Schultz / Quad-City Times)

Editor's note: Bettendorf senior runner Matt Butler is guest blogging throughout the spring track season.

This week, I’ve found myself being questioned quite frequently about the upcoming Drake Relays by people who don’t know much about track and field.

The only thing I can say to them is that the Drake Relays aren’t just a track meet; it’s a party. The whole campus comes alive during relays week and a certain feeling of anticipation can be sensed hanging in the air. Bean bag toss and front lawn parties are a repetitive sight and one great race can set the campus abuzz. Iowa State may have VEISHA, but Drake has relays week.

My relays schedule this year will consist of four races. This afternoon I will race the 3,200-meter run. The open 800 and the 1,600 medley relay both are on Friday. Then, sandwiched right in the middle of the most prestigious day, Saturday, I will run the 1,600-meter run against twenty of Iowa’s best prep milers.

In all of the races, I feel like I have a fair chance of bringing home the Drake gold. Last time I checked, I was ranked in the top five for the individual events and the medley team is ranked second in the state. The prized possession every athlete is after is the pennant the starter hands the victor of the race. In my opinion, it’s the high school version of an Olympic medal.

Weather is always a big question when Drake rolls around. Historically, rain has been a common theme during the meet. This year, the weather (per my iPhone’s weather app) looks to be less than ideal; rain and chilly temperatures around 45 degrees can be expected on Friday and Saturday. The weather isn’t too much of a hassle when competing but rather when you’re sitting in the stands hours on end watching countless heats of races. The best thing to do as an athlete is to wait out a storm or heat wave in the old Drake field house.

In the past, I’ve found myself sprawled out and snoozing on ancient high jump mats in the field house to pass the time.

For anyone who wants to watch the action live, Flotrack.com will be broadcasting a live feed of the events with great color commentary along with Sportcenter - like daily recaps. I’ll also be tweeting some updates and pictures from an athlete’s point of view. If you have a Twitter account, be sure to follow me at @matt_butler66.

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