Heather Dorniden Kampf at the Drake Relays
©Jim Kirby 2017

Memories From the Drake Relays: Heather Kampf

Heather Dorniden Kampf at the Drake Relays ©Jim Kirby 2017

Heather Dorniden Kampf at the Drake Relays
©Jim Kirby 2017

Heather Dorniden Kampf was a 8 time All American, and NCAA champion and a Drake Relays regular while competing for the University of Minnesota.  Kampf has since gone on to become one of America’s best in the Road Mile.  She has won four USA Road Mile championships and three Drake Relays Grand Blue Mile titles.  She holds the women’s record for the Grand Blue Mile as well.  She was a member of the 2014 World Championship team, running the 1500.  Recently she finished 2nd to Shelby Houlihan, in the 2 mile run, at the USA Indoor Championships.

Feature photo: Heather Dorniden Kampf at the Drake Relays ©Jim Kirby 2017

My name is Heather Kampf and I have competed at the Drake Relays for the past 11 years. I have always considered it to be like ‘Homecoming’ for the Midwest track and field community. It is more than just a track meet, it has become synonymous with spring and the start of outdoor track and field…late April is ‘Drake Season’ in my mind!!

The entire Drake Relays Week of festivities and events does such an incredible job of making Track and Field exciting, accessible, and popular amongst every level of fan. I love the way Drake has brought Track into the town- whether it’s Pole Vault in the street, or High Jump in a grocery store, it gets the sport in the public eye! Even better yet, fans can get out and be active too! Everyone from kids to masters athletes can participate in the Grand Blue Mile before they stick around to watch the Pro’s tear through the streets of Des Moines. It is in these ways that I feel the Drake Relays serves as a fantastic liaison between track and field and the general community- we need more people talking about, participating in, and supporting the sport to keep it strong and lively!

From the standpoint of an athlete, what could be better than a relay meet? It’s refreshingly different from the ‘status quo’ of normal track meets and perhaps the only time throughout the year that some runners get to pass a baton around the track. The element of chasing a common goal with your teammates makes every memory you make that much more special, especially when one considers the history and prestige behind the event and the stadium. As a collegiate athlete for the University of Minnesota I was blessed to run quite a few victory laps around the blue oval with my teammates and our Drake Relays Flags, and those laps will be memories I will cherish for life.

For athletes at any level of the game- high school, college, professionals, and masters – you can count on finding high caliber competition to bring out your very best at the Drake Relays. As a professional now, I really appreciate the opportunity to compete close to home, against great fields, for a very large prize money purse! It is so impressive what the Relays have done to elevate their Pro events to the next level. For all these reasons and more, I certainly intend to continue to compete, make memories, and (hopefully!) put on a great show for the awesome fans who brave whatever weather Mother Nature decides to throw at us every year around Drake Season!