Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Philadelphia — founded by William Penn — played an important role as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers during the American Revolution and, briefly, as the U.S. capital.

The birthplace of the U.S. Marine Corps, Philly became the site of many firsts, including the first library, hospital, medical school, stock exchange, zoo, business school and computer.

And right across 33rd Street from the birthplace of the first computer — the ENIAC — is Franklin Field, which annually hosts the oldest and largest annual track & field meet in the world — the Penn Relays.

It started in 1895 and now more than 100,000 fans fill the stadium in three days during the final weekend of April. The competition is deep at every level, from elementary school runners to high schooler to collegians to professionals to masters runners, who have been as old as 100!

It is known as a Carnival and the fun-filled atmosphere includes a huge rivalry between the U.S. and Jamaica. Perhaps half the fans have Jamaican roots and most bring the Green & Gold flag to show support.

Jamaican high schools have been running at the Penns for more than 50 years and it has been where young runners — including Olympic gold medalists like Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Asafa Powell, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Yohan Blake have cut their teeth.

Odds are that if you are in a room with at least 20 people anywhere from Boston to Washington, D.C., someone has run at the Penn Relays and will be happy to tell you all about it.

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