Des Moines is the track capitol of the United States this week.  The Drake Relays have brought in not only the top U.S. athletes but as usual a host of world class performers.  And this city knows how to do it Right.

Even though I’m just kind of hanging out with no official duties Meet Director Brian Brown was kind enough to invite me to dinner last night.    We’ve been buddies for a few years so I tagged along with Linda and my old colleague Bob Latham (USATF Men’s LDR National Champs Chair) to the Gramercy for a 4 course meal that sated us all.  Big thanks to the Des Moines CVB!

An intimate gathering, the restaurant was closed to everyone but our athletes, administrators, and your humble scribe.  I lost track of the number of Olympians but was happy to meet Leo Manzano and A.J. Acosta for the first time.  Sara Hall (Ryan’s wife) , Geena Gall and Shannon Rowbury too.  Also good to catch up with Nebraskans Alice Schmidt and Ashley Miller.  Tonight’s race should be Excellent.

Meghan Armstrong Payton asked me at breakfast this morning what my “day job” is.  I gave her a quizzical look and she indicated how impressed she was with my handshake yesterday.   These old guns aren’t what they used to be, and in fact the right bicep (Mr. Knockout) is very bruised from some target practice last weekend with my 12 gauge shotgun.  But a firm handshake and a look in the eyes goes a long way

The weather is set to be cool, windy, but dry.  The course is a horseshoe shape and should provide some honest efforts at Peter vd Westhuizen’s course record of 4:02.99.  The women’s mark of 4:45.66 set last year by Sara Hall may also be in jeapordy.