And they've been doing it every year but one since 2008. As silly as it looks to see a world-class event taking place as some teenage girl exits The Limited before she makes a stop at Old Navy and heads over to the food court, there's actually something to be said for this.
As anyone who's ever attended a track meet knows, field events like the pole vault tend to get overshadowed by what's happening on the track. Taking the competition to a place where there's a captive audience has a way of getting people to pay attention, even if those people are at the Jordan Creek Town Center in West Des Moines, Iowa, to buy throw pillows at Pottery Barn. (And since the inside of the mall is, you know, indoors, the Drake Relays also still holds a separate actual outdoor pole vault event at Drake Stadium.)
I'm not sure who's competing in the video above during last night's Pole Vault In the Mall—yes, that's officially what it's called—but the women's event was won by Jenn Suhr, the who's ranked No. 1 in the world, while the men's winner was Brad Walker, the 2012 U.S. indoor champion. Both gushed with praise for the atmosphere, which has to be the first time any such sentiment was expressed about a shopping mall, anywhere.
American Record-Holders Win 2012 Pole Vault In The Mall In Event-Record Fashion [Drake Relays]
h/t to Rodney