The Kansas Relays has been awarded the World Athletics Heritage Plaque ©Getty Images

The Kansas Relays is the latest recipient of the World Athletics Heritage Plaque as it celebrates the beginning of its 93rd edition, which runs until Saturday (April 15).

The awarding marks the 100th anniversary of the event which is hosted by the University of Kansas and was founded on April 21 1923.

It has since been held every year except for 1943 to 1945, due to the Second World War, 1998 to 1999, because of stadium renovations, and 2020 to 2022 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Significantly, the award of the World Athletics Heritage Plaque marks the return of the Kansas Relays, last held in 2019, following the pandemic," said United States' World Athletics Council Member Willie Banks, a former triple jump world record holder and silver medallist from the 1983 World Championships in Helsinki.

"The annual three-day celebration of the very best of track and field in Lawrence, Kansas, which thoroughly deserves this recognition, has been the stage of countless great performances by world and Olympic medallists and world record-breakers.

The Kansas Relays is celebrating its centenary this year and 93rd edition of the event ©World Athletics
The Kansas Relays is celebrating its centenary this year and 93rd edition of the event ©World Athletics

"Over the last hundred years the Kansas Relays, from seniors to high schoolers, has established itself as one of the most important invitational track and field competitions in the USA."

The Kansas Relays came into being thanks to the University's American football coach John Outland who had been inspired by the Penn Relays, which began in 1895, while he was studying at the University of Pennsylvania.

With the completion of the Memorial Stadium in 1922, an appropriate venue was now in place to make the Relays a reality the following year.

Since 2014, after the removal of the track from the Memorial Stadium which became solely used for American football, the meeting's home has been in the new stadium of Rock Chalk Park.

"This is a meaningful recognition for one of the very best track and field events in the world that we proudly host right here in Lawrence, Kansas," said University of Kansas director of athletics Travis Goff.

"There is tremendous anticipation for the Kansas Relays to return this year – its 100th anniversary – and we look forward to some of the very best in the sport to visit Rock Chalk Park and experience a meet they will remember for the rest of their lives."