The CHill Zone of T&F: Conway's View From the Finish Line

No Modesto / California Relays This Year!

Mar 31st, 2009
2:46 pm PST

Just got word a little while ago that there will be no Modesto / California Relays this year. The meet had been held in the Central California town of Modesto for some 67 years, and was scheduled to move to Sacramento and Sac State’s Hornet Stadium this year – home of the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Trials.

Apparently, however, the meet director said that they weren’t able to nail down all the details in time for the move. I’m extremely disappointed at this turn of events. For those long time California track fans, or just fans of the sport in general, the Modesto Relays has been a mainstay of the late spring. So much so that in its hey day it was a must stop venue for the world’s best athletes. Favorable weather (especially winds) and the personality of one time meet director Tom Moore (now deceased) made this one of the best meets on the West Coast.

The list of luminaries that graced Modesto’s track is longer than I am old including, Jim Hines, Jim Ryun, Tommie Smith, Don Quarrie, Steve Williams, Mary Decker, Marty Liquori, Carl Lewis, Edwin Moses, Evelyn Ashford, Maurice Greene, Dwight Stones, Michael Johnson, Rod Milburn, Renaldo Nehemiah, Jeremy Wariner and a host of others. World leading performances have been routinely set in this meet, and its storied history includes a long list of World Record performances.

I was looking forward to the move to Sacramento as it provided a world class venue for the competitors as well as easier access to air flights and better accommodations. The move to Sacramento could help draw the type of athletes and fans that would help this meet get back to its spot as one of the truly elite meets in the world. To hear that it will “sit out” a year is like hearing a favored relative will not be coming for Christmas this year.

I hope that meet organizers get things together so that the meet will be back on the schedule in 2010, because it is one of my personal all time favorite meets.

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