The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Voice of Iowa track and field announces ‘Weekend Warrior’ event

Mike Jay’s nonprofit organization combines running, biking, golfing, and bowling into a team challenge set for Memorial Day weekend.
Emily Nyberg
Public address announcer, Mike Jay announces during a high school track and field meet at Prairie High School in Cedar Rapids Iowa.

In 1990, the University of Iowa hosted the Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships. With no one to announce the biggest meet of the season, all eyes fell on Mike Jay out of Columbus Junction, Iowa.

Around the state, Jay is known as the voice of track and field — as he’s been the man on the mic across all levels of the sport. Jay continues to announce the state meets for both high school cross country and track and field, NCAA Championships, and USA Championships.

“They asked me to do it, and I’ve been announcing every home meet ever since,” Jay said.

Jay said he devotes his free time to his passion project: the Track Guy Foundation. In 2018, Jay and his family started the organization to give back to the running community, gifting pairs of shoes to underprivileged children in Iowa.

“When I got out of coaching in 2011, I needed something to fill that void,” Jay said.

His nonprofit was the answer.

The Track Guy Foundation’s mission is to ensure every young athlete in Iowa has the opportunity to compete in cross country or track and field. Its support comes in the form of scholarships, shoe donations, coaching clinics, and camps.

So far, the entirety of Track Guy Foundation’s efforts has been funded by donations and t-shirt sales.

But with ambitious goals ahead of increasing its impact on young runners, the Track Guy Foundation is launching the Weekend Warrior event.

On Memorial Day weekend, 36 four-person teams will join the competitive family-fun atmosphere by running, biking, golfing, and bowling. Inspired by the triathlon, each score from the individual events will be combined for final rankings.

However, the main focus remains on team participation and creating lasting memories.

The first event, bowling, will take place at Colonial Lanes in Iowa City on Friday evening. One team member will bowl two games. While team members bowl, family and spectators are welcome to bowl and play putt-putt golf for free.

The next morning, another team member will golf nine holes at Saddleback Ridge Golf Course in Solon.

At the same time, one team member will bike from Solon to Ely and back on the Hoover Trail system.

Fifteen minutes later, the final team member will take off from the same start line to run 3.1 miles on the same trail.

An award ceremony and social will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Big Grove Brewpub in Solon to conclude the event. Second-year Iowa women’s basketball player Hannah Stuelke and third-year Iowa men’s basketball player Payton Sandfort will hold a free throw contest during the social.

Each team entry fee is $300, and all proceeds will directly support the Track Guy Foundation’s ability to help kids across Iowa. Teams fully composed of high school student-athletes may register free of cost, thanks to an anonymous donation to the Track Guy Foundation.

“We want to do more for Iowa kids,” Jay said. “That’s who we are raising money for.”

The ultimate goal is to generate enough funds to host three free summer camps in Iowa, Jay said. He has goals of attracting Olympians and well-known coaches to appear at each camp.

The idea came from the heart of a junior high athlete who could only look at the camp flyers and never attend.

“When I was a kid, I always wanted to go to a summer camp, but my parents couldn’t afford it,” Jay said. “I know there are other kids who feel like that now, and we want to rectify that situation.”

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About the Contributors
Mia Boulton
Mia Boulton, Sports Reporter
Mia Boulton is a freshman at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism & Mass Communication, as well as exploring a possible double major in Sports Media. She works at the Daily Iowan as a sports reporter. Outside of the Daily Iowan, Mia has been a photographer for her hometown newspaper, The Record.
Emily Nyberg
Emily Nyberg, Visual Editor
Emily Nyberg is a second-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic arts. Prior to her role as a Visual Editor, Emily was a Photojournalist, and a News Reporter covering higher education.