By Lynn Jones – This year’s 56th annual Bob Hayes Invitational Track Meet (BHITM) was missing the voice of organizer James Day who recently passed. Day’s photo was plastered all over the field’s monitors, on billboards and flyers for attendees to get a glimpse of the man that coached legendary Raines athletes and chaired the meet of many years. Many of the athletes went on to play in sports national major leagues and stood on the field to give their condolences and respect to their friend and mentor. Track and field athletics from around the country converged inside the Raines High School to participate in the 56th annual tack meet. e
The Bob Hayes Invitational Track and Field Meet was organized in the spring of 1964 under the leadership of coach Nathaniel S. Washington, Sr. Washington was a close friend of Bob Hayes father and knew Bob as a student at Matthew W. Gilbert School where Washington was coaching before transferring to Douglas Anderson High School. In the 1964 Olympics, Bob ran in the slowest lane, tied the world record of 10.0 in the 100 meter race, and won two gold medals. Bob Hayes was once regarded as the “World’s Fastest Human” and in the 1963 AAU meet in St. Louis, set a world record of 9.1 seconds in the 100 yard dash. He won the 100 meter dash in Tokyo, Japan with a time of 10 seconds flat, tying the world and Olympic records.
After 51 years, the meet at the hands of former organizer Coach James Day, assistants, committee and sponsor continues to grow.