The Penn Relays, which has been contested uninterrupted every year since 1895, has been canceled due to coronavirus concerns.
Organizers hope that the meet, originally scheduled for April 23-25, can be substituted for a one-day event in late May or early June.
“Based on the current novel coronavirus pandemic, we cannot host an event in late April without putting our participants, spectators, officials, volunteers, and staff at risk,” Penn athletic director Dr. M. Grace Calhoun said in a press release. “The University of Pennsylvania has hosted the Penn Relays for 125 consecutive years through the World Wars and other world-wide health issues. This spirit of perseverance and resiliency will continue as we plan for a track meet later in the year when the health and safety of our community is more certain.”
The Penn Relays have in the past gathered some of the U.S. and Jamaica’s top sprinters before the international outdoor track season begins in earnest. Usain Bolt, Allyson Felix and Michael Johnson have been among the headliners for a meet that also includes top high school and college athletes at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.
The Diamond League season is scheduled to start on April 17 in Doha. The second and third meets are in China on May 9 (to be determined location) and May 16 (Shanghai). A spokesperson for the Shanghai meet said in an email Thursday that there would be an update on its status by the beginning of this week.