The 114th running of the Penn Relays began today at ol' Franklin Field in West Philly, and the life of kings was there to take in the awesome. Rather than try (with futility) to put this town's greatest annual sports spectacle into words, I've instead decided to pass along exclusive cell phone photos, at least as often as time permits (riveting, I know). According to an organizer, there are approximately 4,000 relay teams, 2,500 individual competitors, 900 high schools and 240 colleges registered to compete this year. And come Saturday, when 50,000 people will pack this place, the Olympic-caliber athletes will blaze across the track as folks in the stands -- including thousands of raucous Jamaicans -- wave flags, chant and scream as if they were at a rock concert. The Penn Relays has everything: history, tradition, great crowds and a wonderful setting. You really have to see it to believe it, even if you care not a wit about track and field.
The day is just beginning. The weather is perfect. To be here on a morning like this makes you feel like God is in a good mood.
The madcap paddock area, where the runners are literally herded before they take the track. The races begin early and go all day, with clockwork precision. Somehow, they find a way to keep it all organized.
More to come...