The Penn Relays platform is important and may be likened to a `pilgrimage’ for many Jamaicans.
It is the longest uninterrupted collegiate track meet athletic event in the country and is the largest meet (outside of the Olympics), that attracts over 22,000 athletes, primarily from the northeast United States and the Caribbean; namely, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Bahamas, Barbados, St Vincent & The Grenadines and Grenada.
Through 124 editions of the meet, more athletes have run at the Penn Relays than at any single meet in the world. More spectators have watched the meet than any in the world except the Olympics and World Championships.
Jamaica has competed at the Penn Relays for over 50 years, and during that time our athletes have made significant contributions to the successful staging of the relays.
The continued triumph of the Jamaican athletes has brought the fans to record breaking numbers for the past several years. ESPN estimates that of the 100,000 to 125,000 persons attending Penn over the 3 day period, approximately 50% are Jamaicans/Caribbean nationals. Others estimate the number is closer to 70%.
The Relays present an opportunity to reunite with friends and families. It provides for friendly competition among schools and is especially a grand display of national pride on the international stage.
The Jamaican flag is the first foreign flag to be flown at Franklin Field, University of Pennsylvania.