Overall Rating
Overall Rating (234 Reviews)
4.6
(234 Ratings)(234 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3
SCENERY
4.2
PRODUCTION
4.6
SWAG
4.4
The IMT Des Moines Marathon offers a race distance for athletes of all ages, ability, interest level… and goals. The Des Moines Marathon is a long-distance running race with an official distance of 42.195 kilometers or 26 miles and 385 yards. USATF Certificate: IA16014MF Enhance your race experience by participating … MORE
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Recent reviews

    swiowafan FIRST-TIMER '18

    This was an amazing race. Loved going through the parks and the scenery of downtown. I loved the entertainment and people at aid stations. Also lots of crowd support. I … MORE

    This was an amazing race. Loved going through the parks and the scenery of downtown. I loved the entertainment and people at aid stations. Also lots of crowd support. I loved the people on bikes who were handing out Kleenex as well as other things all along the course.
    Only thing that maybe could be improved is the expo. Didn’t seem like much there at all.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    M_Sohaskey FIRST-TIMER '18

    BOTTOM LINE: As midsize marathons go, Des Moines is one of des best in the des Midwest, if not des entire country. The meandering, Hyde-and-Jekyll course is best considered in … MORE

    BOTTOM LINE: As midsize marathons go, Des Moines is one of des best in the des Midwest, if not des entire country. The meandering, Hyde-and-Jekyll course is best considered in terms of pre-Drake (rolling first half) and post-Drake (much flatter second half), with the highlight being a lap around the blue Drake University oval in mile 12. Despite a similar field size, the course felt more suburban and more intimate than had Kansas City’s one day earlier, with much of the route passing through quiet neighborhoods and local parks, including a two-mile loop of serene Gray’s Lake late in the race. That said, the spirited support from the Des Moines community was impressive, including one woman who stood at miles 9.5 and 14.5 shaking her sleigh bells as if the upcoming holiday season depended on it.

    As a spectator Katie drove many of the streets and neighborhoods bordering the course, and in so doing witnessed the more blue-collar commercial and industrial sectors of the city, none of which were immediately apparent to us marathoners. My own impression of Des Moines from race weekend was of a scenic, comfortably sized town with few defining features but with an abundance of green spaces, a vibrant university campus and an artsy, entrepreneurial streak. And finishing 26.2 miles in the shadow of stately Polk County Courthouse was a nice touch.

    (Note: I ran DMM as the second half of a back-to-back weekend with the Kansas City Marathon as part of the excellent I-35 Challenge.)

    PRODUCTION: Des Moines was staged with clear attention to detail, from the scenic course that showcased the best of the city to the plentiful aid stations (and porta-potties) to the helpful volunteers who patrol the course on bikes, acting as mobile aid stations. And though the finish line festival (or in this case, the Samuel Adams Block Party) was a good bit colder and windier than the previous day in Kansas City, I stuck around to thank Race Director Chris Burch in person, and to take advantage of the free post-race nachos and Sam Adams DSM Brew, never a bad combination. Unfortunately I missed the complimentary massage tent, but that too was available to sore-legged finishers.

    A handy pocket-sized Spectator Guide was available at packet pickup. The guide featured a map of the course showing the locations of cheer zones and parking lots, as well as helpful hints including the Sunday schedule, how to get connected with your runner and when/where to watch on race day. Super-spectator Katie found the guide to be particularly helpful in association with Google Maps.

    One suggestion I might make would be for pacers (who always amaze me with their ability to lead, inform and entertain, all while maintaining a consistent pace for 26.2 miles) to carry signs that more clearly identify their pace times — the pace signs this year were difficult to read from a distance, which frustrated me on several occasions as I tried to gauge my progress based on a pace group running ahead of me.

    SWAG: Des Moines overdelivered in the swag department. While the shiny round finisher medal emblazoned with the race logo is an eye-catching addition to my collection, it’s overshadowed by the high-quality full-zip jacket with the IMT DMM logo printed on the left lapel. Not only is the jacket a thoughtful and significant upgrade from the usual race tee, but it’s the type of outerwear I’ll find a reason to wear even in SoCal, as it’s both comfy and stylish.

    In addition to race-specific swag, marathoners and half marathoners who also completed Kansas City the day before earned 1) a colorful stained-glass I-35 Challenge medal with the names of both races on the medal and ribbon, and 2) a long-sleeve gray tech tee with “Challenge Completed” printed on the front. Hats off to the organizers in Des Moines and Kansas City for going the extra mile to make the I-35 Challenge one of the most memorable weekends in running!

    For more details I’d urge you to run, don’t walk to my DMM race report at https://blisterscrampsheaves.com/2019/02/07/des-moines-marathon-race-report/

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    A very well organized race from expo to race finish, not a ton spectators on the majority on the course (not much toward the end). A lot of friendly water … MORE

    A very well organized race from expo to race finish, not a ton spectators on the majority on the course (not much toward the end). A lot of friendly water stops and a moderate challenging course with some steady incline at spots (no major hills).
    A great medal and the race shirts (track jacket this year, is awesome).

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    bowulf REPEAT RUNNER '18

    Des Moines Marathon is synonymous with quality race experience. From the sign-up page to the constant communication re: race day readiness to race day activities and support, there is not … MORE

    Des Moines Marathon is synonymous with quality race experience. From the sign-up page to the constant communication re: race day readiness to race day activities and support, there is not a single thing I would change about this race. This is a great race for those thinking they want to try their first or experienced runners wanting to hit a PR. The half course is much less hilly than the full course, but no less supported or popular.

    There have been a number of course changes in the past 10 years of running the race, but it still very much felt like home out on the course. Chris- you are doing an excellent job as Race Director!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    4
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    5

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    Really nice race for Iowa, not too big that it's super hard to get to the starting line/etc, but big enough that you aren't alone very much. I really enjoyed … MORE

    Really nice race for Iowa, not too big that it’s super hard to get to the starting line/etc, but big enough that you aren’t alone very much. I really enjoyed it and will definitely come back someday! Finishers jacket was really nice, good amount of aid stations and Gu along the course. Decent crowd support considering that the course mainly goes through neighborhoods. The last half of the course is quiet because you are on trails where spectators can’t get to, but the first half of the course is very spectator friendly, I saw my little fan club 5 times in the first half of the race which was awesome!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
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    5
    SCENERY
    4
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    5

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    ixtlamaster FIRST-TIMER '18

    I traveled from Kansas City to Iowa to run my first Half Marathon, we slept in a Down Town hotel in Iowa where they treated us very well because we … MORE

    I traveled from Kansas City to Iowa to run my first Half Marathon, we slept in a Down Town hotel in Iowa where they treated us very well because we were going to participate in the event. and my wife and son liked the city very much, the course of the race was very pleasant beside those lakes and with all the local people supporting the runners. excellent service of water stations and entertainers.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
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    HRrunnerguy REPEAT RUNNER '18

    I’m local and have run both the Half and the Full on multiple occasions. The Fall colors make this a gorgeous run. There is genuine community support for both races, … MORE

    I’m local and have run both the Half and the Full on multiple occasions. The Fall colors make this a gorgeous run. There is genuine community support for both races, with strong encouragement for all runners from the first through the final runners. For those coming from out of town, there are plenty of downtown hotel options available, within walking distance of the Start/Finish.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    Jwilkins REPEAT RUNNER '18

    There is a lot of work out into making this an enjoyable race for everyone! The 5k, 5mile, half, full and junior jog are well attended and have great swag … MORE

    There is a lot of work out into making this an enjoyable race for everyone! The 5k, 5mile, half, full and junior jog are well attended and have great swag for all competitors. Frequent water/fuel stations & lots of entertainment. I completed the combination 5mile and half this year and loved doing both. The trade show/bag pick up was not as good this year as the previous year.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    terrys.harrison FIRST-TIMER '18

    I've run a lot of half marathons in the last couple of years and wanted to get one marathon under my belt. The Des Moines Marathon has great support and … MORE

    I’ve run a lot of half marathons in the last couple of years and wanted to get one marathon under my belt. The Des Moines Marathon has great support and lots of people on the course cheering you on. Water stations and 1st Aid along with many, many bike support personnel make it one of the better courses I’ve run. As some others have said, us slower runners end up with smaller groups of people cheering, but some diehards are out there until the last person goes by. I wasn’t happy with my time and will be coming back next year for another shot.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    superloser7082 FIRST-TIMER '18

    The race was flat with just a couple of small inclines. Running around Grays lake was ausome! The water stations were spread apart nicely. The crowd was a great motivator. … MORE

    The race was flat with just a couple of small inclines. Running around Grays lake was ausome! The water stations were spread apart nicely. The crowd was a great motivator. I was able to talk to other runners also which made the run a lot easier.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    baboo.1925 FIRST-TIMER '18

    The fans, coordination, and volunteers were all wonderful...the race jacket rather than shirt was AWESOME!! Only wish my size had been available, but I guess being larger I shouldn't be … MORE

    The fans, coordination, and volunteers were all wonderful…the race jacket rather than shirt was AWESOME!! Only wish my size had been available, but I guess being larger I shouldn’t be doing halves?!?! Problem of all races I have done though not just here. Great job to all involved in planning and carrying out. A nice course for my return to the world of distances and for my sons first half. I had a total knee replacement in August 2017 and due to health problems with my knee and back had to stop for a period of time. This was the perfect race to return to even though I was quite a way off my PR.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    Plenty of water stops and First Aid Stations. Lots of good entertainment and people cheering you on. I'll be back. I would recommend this highly to all. I do wish … MORE

    Plenty of water stops and First Aid Stations. Lots of good entertainment and people cheering you on. I’ll be back. I would recommend this highly to all. I do wish there was a way to have the stage located somewhere so you can hear them and see them better talking and singing the National Anthem. Overall though it was a great time.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    jessiesjungle70 REPEAT RUNNER '18

    My 9th Des Moines Marathon. I ran this year with a friend and used it as a training run, but loved it as a race! Super organized and well supported … MORE

    My 9th Des Moines Marathon. I ran this year with a friend and used it as a training run, but loved it as a race! Super organized and well supported and highlights the city well. Lots of course entertainment and good food at the end. Lots of porta potties at the start, so don’t wait in long lines, there’s always more around a corner it seems!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    marathon250 REPEAT RUNNER '18

    Course Difficulty: Most of the hills are in the first 8 miles. They are bigger than what you expect, but once they are done you have a mostly flat or … MORE

    Course Difficulty:
    Most of the hills are in the first 8 miles. They are bigger than what you expect, but once they are done you have a mostly flat or downhill course for the rest of the race.
    Course Scenery:
    You get to run in scenic neighborhoods of the city, take a lap on the famous Drake blue oval, and enjoy Grays Lake and Waterworks Park, one of the best recreational areas of the city.
    Race Production:
    Solid effort is put into hosting the event. Bike support is great, plenty of water stations, first aid tents at mile 20 and beyond, and an organized finish line with half marathon on the right and marathon on the left.
    Swag:
    There are awesome zip up long sleeve athletic jackets that come with your packet pickup! I have run Des Moines 4 times and I can tell you the medals are different every year. They are unique, and if you do the 5 mile race the day before, that medal will connect to your sunday race medal (any distance) adding to the coolness factor. On top of that, you could also do the I-35 challenge (Running Kansas City and Des Moines marathons) for more unique swag.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    jwc5115 FIRST-TIMER '18

    I can't recommend this race enough. First, the people were absolutely amazing. Not just the aid station volunteers, and not even just the medics on bikes (thank God for the … MORE

    I can’t recommend this race enough.

    First, the people were absolutely amazing. Not just the aid station volunteers, and not even just the medics on bikes (thank God for the one handing out homemade brownies at mile 19), but mostly the spectators hanging out in their lawns in the 30 degree weather to cheer on a bunch of strangers. There were a number of people who set out bowls of Halloween candy, and I saw one table that probably had a couple of hundred dollars worth of energy gels just set out for whoever needed it.

    I loved the course. Some fun, challenging hills but all at the beginning when I still had energy to enjoy them. The course ran through a number of different neighborhoods, so you got to see a lot of Des Moines. And the loop around the Drake track is just an awesome, uniquely Iowa idea. I mostly do trail races, so I liked the idea that the last 10 or so miles were through the parks. But I have to admit, it was a little challenging to keep my energy level up once the racers had thinned out and almost no crowds through the parks.

    What else…the post race food selection was great. I have more unique race medals, but I don’t think I have any just as straight-up pretty as these two (I did the 5 miler on Saturday, too). The expo was set up well so that packet pickup was an absolute breeze. I love that they have an option for a relay team. I had a number of friends who wanted to run but not marathon distance, so they put together a team and had an absolute blast.

    So yeah, overall, I highly, highly recommend this race and I will definitely be back again next year.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
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    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    [email protected] REPEAT RUNNER '18

    This was a perfect fun race. From the weather to all the race support. After 27 marathons fist one that had tons of race support by volunteers constantly on bicycles … MORE

    This was a perfect fun race. From the weather to all the race support. After 27 marathons fist one that had tons of race support by volunteers constantly on bicycles with what ever you might need. I highly recommend this one to do.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    dylon28 REPEAT RUNNER '18

    I have ran this since 2013. I love the event. Very well organized. Nice swag. Nice fairly flat course. If you are looking to run a PR this may be … MORE

    I have ran this since 2013. I love the event. Very well organized. Nice swag. Nice fairly flat course. If you are looking to run a PR this may be the course for you. Finishing and starting down town Des Moines is excellent. Fairly easy to find parking. Plenty for your family to do while they wait for you to finish.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Iamarunner2 FIRST-TIMER '18

    I've run plenty of races but this was my first marathon. Pre-race: Plenty of space to do the pre-race warm-ups and stretches. If you knew where to look, no lines … MORE

    I’ve run plenty of races but this was my first marathon.
    Pre-race: Plenty of space to do the pre-race warm-ups and stretches.
    If you knew where to look, no lines for the porta-potties.
    There were plenty of volunteers around to help with where to go and with questions. I had an equipment malfunction and needed safety pins and they had them.
    The starting chute was a little tight as it begins on a two lane (with parking on each side) city street.

    Race time: The marathon and half marathon starts at the same time and we are all lumped together which makes it quite congested for the first mile or so. At about mile 3, the half marathoners split off and go their own way while the marathoners start the hilly part of our course. The hills aren’t overly steep…they are just long. I’m glad they were early on in the race. For the next 5 miles or so, the hills continued as we ran through beautiful neighborhoods with large trees. Even in this out of the way part of the course, there were people out in their yards cheering us on. Overall, the fan support was great!

    The course support and volunteers were superb! You never even had to think about where you were supposed to be going next because there were people at every corner. In the later miles and in the more “desolated” areas of the course when we ran through the parks and wooded areas, there was always bike support nearby. The aid stations were superb! Lots of them and all of them very helpful! Some of the mid to later aid stations had orange slices, energy gel, and pretzels along with the water and Gatorade. And I can’t forget to mention the station with bacon…which I took. 🙂

    Really, the only thing that I didn’t like about this race was the 4 long stretches of just running straight for a mile plus. The post race set up is a little bit jumbled up too as they had different food in different places….but it was all good!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
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    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    mwag72 FIRST-TIMER '18

    Scenic route with an awesome lap around the blue oval at Drake. Cheer zones were terrific and volunteers working water and Gatorade stations were great too. Overall, after the first … MORE

    Scenic route with an awesome lap around the blue oval at Drake. Cheer zones were terrific and volunteers working water and Gatorade stations were great too. Overall, after the first eight miles or so, the course was pretty flat. Great race for a first time marathon runner like me.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    tdlynch REPEAT RUNNER '18

    This is my 3rd time running this Half Marathon and I’ve enjoyed it every single time. I especially like the course route the past couple years compared to my first … MORE

    This is my 3rd time running this Half Marathon and I’ve enjoyed it every single time. I especially like the course route the past couple years compared to my first year running it. It’s beautiful and mostly flat, allowing for full enjoyment. Volunteers and entertainment along the way are top notch and I’d recommend this race to anyone! (Especially first-timers).

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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