The Drake Relays

The Drake Relays : America's Athletic Classic

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The Drake Relays are one of the iconic events of track and field in the United States. World and Olympic champions test their speed and stamina on the famed Blue Oval in Des Moines, Iowa, every April, and by spring 2013 they had set fourteen world records and fifty-one American records. But unlike most other top meets, this one also features college athletes from all over the country and high school athletes from across Iowa, giving them the experience of a lifetime - competing on the same track with the elite in their sport. This mix brings many enthusiastic spectators to the stadium and makes for an unusually close bond between fans and athletes - it's as if everyone's family is there cheering.

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Peterson has been covering the Drake Relays for nearly forty years, but his love affair with the meet started earlier, when he ran on three winning relay teams there for Kansas State University. Now, drawing upon an unmatched personal archive, he offers the pictures of a lifetime spent on the Blue Oval. He captures on camera athletes of all levels in triumph and defeat, in mid-stride or leap, embracing their fans, their mums and dads, and their kids. In addition to the stars of the past, such as Carl Lewis, Suzy Favor Hamilton, and Herschel Walker, and those of the '00s, like Lolo Jones and Jeremy Wariner, we see teenagers who may be the stars of the future, as well as the many athletes who will never be famous but nonetheless show themselves - and their sport - at their best.

A beautiful celebration of the Drake Relays and the diverse sports that make up "track and field," this book will evoke memories and inspire runners, throwers and jumpers everywhere.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 120 pages
  • 146 x 210 x 10.16mm | 385.55g
  • Iowa, United States
  • English
  • 135 colour photographs, 37 black and white photogaphs
  • 1609382293
  • 9781609382292

Review quote

"David Peterson brings readers to the finish line with his astounding photographic tribute to the Drake Relays. Filled with action and drama and taken with the eye of a former college track competitor, Peterson's images evoke the athleticism and emotion of America's favorite track meet and bring out the track fan in all of us." - Damian Strohmeyer, contributing photographer, Sports Illustrated "If, as the great sports commentator Heywood Hale Broun has said, 'Sports do not build character. They reveal it,' then here - in the masterful images of David Peterson - is character revealed beautifully, powerfully, fully." - Chris Johns, editor in chief, National Geographic
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About David Peterson

David Peterson won the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography in 1987 and again in 1991 for community service while working for the Des Moines Register. He has photographed thirty-seven Drake Relays for readers of the Topeka Capital-Journal, the Des Moines Register, and Track & Field News. His work has also appeared in National Geographic, numerous Harper-Collins photo books, Parenting Magazine, Newsweek, Smithsonian Magazine and the IOWAN. Before graduating from Kansas State University, he was a six-time All-American and Big Eight champion in track and field and served as team captain his senior year. A newspaper photojournalist for thirty-three years, Peterson now has his own business specialising in editorial, corporate and travel photography. He lives in Pleasant Hill, Iowa.
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