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The Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays are an annual track and field competition held at Mike A.marker Myers Stadiummarker in Austin, Texasmarker. The University of Texasmarker serves as host for the event, held on either the first or second weekend of April.

Events are held in High School, College, University, and Invitational divisions. The 81st running of the relays was April 2-5, 2008.

History

In response to cold-weather conditions at the Kansas Relays, the Texas Relays started as a men's-only competition in 1925 by coach Clyde Littlefield and athletic director Theo Bellmont. The Relays were held at Memorial Stadiummarker until Mike A.marker Myers Stadiummarker was opened in 1999. The meet was not held in from 1932-1934 as a result of The Great Depression. Women's events were added in 1963.

To encourage attendance in the early years of the event, various publicity stunts were staged. The most successful was a 1927 stunt in which three Tarahumaras were invited to the Relays. These men were famed as runners who never stopped running. A race was staged between the men from San Antoniomarker to Memorial Stadium. After 14 hours and 53 minutes, the 89 mile race ended in a tie.

In 1977, electronic timing was introduced at the Relays, and Olympic gold medalist and Texas Longhorns football player John Wesley Jones recorded a time of 9.85 seconds in the 100 meter dash. This would have set a world record, but it was determined that the timer malfunctioned, and the time was unofficial.

The Texas Relays are currently the second largest track meet in the United Statesmarker, behind only the Penn Relays. Today, approximately 50,000 spectators and 5,000 athletes attend the events.

Local impact

According to the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau in 2007, the Relays generate US$8 million for local business. Much of this traced to the fact that the event has become a social destination for young African-Americans. A number of groups organize networking and development events for African-Americans to take place in downtown Austin during the Relays. As recently as 2005, some of these groups have complained that the city government and some businesses have acted in a racist manner to discourage attendance at these parties and social events.

Divisions

The University Division is open to schools in NCAA Division I. The College Division is open to schools in NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA, or NJCAA schools. The University/College Division is open to schools that qualify for either division separately.The High School Division is separated into two levels, Division I and Division II. Division I is open to schools in the University Interscholastic League classes A, AA, or AAA (or their interstate equivalents). Division II is open to schools in UIL classes AAAA or AAAAA. Schools that normally compete in Division I may compete in Division II if they wish.

Events held

Event Invitational Men Invitational Women University Men College Men University / College Women High School Boys High School Girls
100m hurdles
110m hurdles
400m hurdles
100m
1500m
1600m
Mile run
3200m
5000m
10000m
4x100m relay
4x200m relay
4x400m relay
4x800m relay
4x1500m relay
1600m sprint medley
2000m steeplechase
3000m steeplechase
Decathlon
Discus throw
Distance medley
Hammer throw
Heptathlon
High jump
Javelin throw
Long jump
Pole vault
Shot put
Triple jump
Note: Some men's events are combined for the University and College divisions.

References



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