The Wabash Trace Nature Trail is a tree-lined mostly flat converted railroad line that crosses through the scenic Iowa countryside. The Wabash Trace Nature Trail Marathon and Relay will be run on the faster and flatter course, a Boston qualifier. The half marathon will remain a point to point run with some adjustments to the route.
The Wabash Marathon and 5 person relay will start and finish in downtown Shenandoah. Runners will follow a shorter route through Shenandoah traveling east on Sheridan Avenue at the 7:30 a.m. start. The course then runs north on Center Street to Wabash Avenue, west to Sycamore, and north to the trail in Sportsman’s Park. More than 90% of the route will be run on the trail. Marathoners will travel on the trail through Imogene to a turn around point on the trace, a couple of miles north of Imogene. When runners return to Shenandoah they will follow the same route in reverse. This course alleviates the need to bus marathoners to the start.
The Wabash Trace Nature Trail Half Marathon will also has same route as last year and will remain a point to point race with the start in Imogene at St. Patrick Church at 8:30 a.m. It will run north of town a mile before heading south on the trail to Shenandoah and follow the same route to the end as the marathon race. Buses for the half start leaving Shenandoah at 6:45 a.m. from the Depot, 101 Railroad St., Race officials are encouraging runners to make other arrangements if possible to get to the start because space will be limited. Wabash Trace Nature Trail Marathon, Half Marathon and Relay are sponsored again this year by Bank Iowa and organized by Shenandoah Chamber & Industry Association, Southwest Iowa Nature Trails, and City of Imogene.
Shenandoah, Iowa, the city with energy… a beautiful garden city with renewable fuels production and plenty to energize the spirit… recreation, shopping, dinning and more. Shenandoah, it’s not only a progressive place to work & live, it’s the wonderful feelings you’ll experience when you visit friendly Shenandoah, Iowa!
Shenandoah is a progressive bustling community full of entrepreneurs, industry, opportunity, gardens, art, and friendly people. Its unique shops and restaurants have made it the retail hub of southwest Iowa. It’s a safe place to raise a family with a top notch school system and is filled with recreation, attractions, and activities for all ages. Its low cost of living, extensive healthcare including a new VA Clinic, and relaxed lifestyle also make it a great place to retire. Shenandoah’s growing population of over 5,500 is small enough to escape the hassles of the big cities, yet close enough to metropolitan areas and airports for convenience. In the past it’s been the home of the famous singing Everly Brothers and Blackwood Brothers, and nursery giants like Earl May, Henry Field and many more.
Way too hot this year but ran well
Very flat course. Plenty of water stations and friendly volunteers. Swag not special but Tshirt was OK. Not enough music and hype at the beginning for me. I stayed 1/2 … MORE
Very flat course. Plenty of water stations and friendly volunteers. Swag not special but Tshirt was OK. Not enough music and hype at the beginning for me. I stayed 1/2 block from finish line which made things so easy. This was an exceptionally hot year for them and that was brutal the last couple miles especially. I’d still recommend for those looking for an easy course.
Great small town race
Group of 10 travelled to run the marathon and had a great time. The course is flat and fast on reclaimed RR right of way. Mostly tree-lined offering shade on … MORE
Group of 10 travelled to run the marathon and had a great time. The course is flat and fast on reclaimed RR right of way. Mostly tree-lined offering shade on 90% of the course.
I would do the race again.
Nice Easy Trail Race
This was an unusual year for this race (I'm assuming, have never run it before) because so many of us were running our virtual Boston at it. Given that there … MORE
This was an unusual year for this race (I’m assuming, have never run it before) because so many of us were running our virtual Boston at it. Given that there are really only small trail races happening right now, this was a pretty ideal set-up for virtual Boston (and it was nice to feel like a bunch of us were actually running “Boston” together!). The trail is very easy as trail races go – pancake flat, smooth, wide, well-maintained – so this would probably make a great entry to trail marathons for anyone who hasn’t tried one before. Also plenty of aid stations and helpful, friendly volunteers. They did a good job managing the COVID situation, and I really appreciated that they actually got the adjusted course certified after they had to change it due to COVID (from a point-to-point to out-and-back for the marathon, to minimize busing). That was definitely above and beyond and appreciated by all of us who had to run on a certified course for various reasons. The “medal” (which is wooden) is unique – I’m not picky about medals, but my daughter commented right away that it’s one of her favorites that I’ve gotten. I didn’t have a great race time-wise, but it was because I decided to run this pretty last-minute and had recently run another marathon – this would definitely be a good opportunity for someone who wanted to BQ or PR in a trail race. The only downside to the tree-lined course (which is very nice and would provide good shade in sunnier weather) was that it generally blocked the view of the scenery, which I think would have been beautiful. But trees are nice scenery, too, and I got to take in the scenery on my drives to and from the race. All in all, very nice trail race I would recommend, and in particular this year, appreciated the effort they made not just to put on a race in COVID, but to do a great job with it and provide the full race experience.
Not Today COVID
Great work Wabash organizers and volunteers. First time running the full here. I’ve done the half several times. Perfect weather 50s - 60s. Changed course to out and back. I … MORE
Great work Wabash organizers and volunteers. First time running the full here. I’ve done the half several times. Perfect weather 50s – 60s. Changed course to out and back. I got a little weary of the trail since my only previous marathons were big ones with lots of spectators and entertainment. But that’s also the beauty of a small marathon.
It was a rails to trails race. The trail was soft and very easy on the feet. It was shaded most of the time. We were bused to start line … MORE
It was a rails to trails race. The trail was soft and very easy on the feet. It was shaded most of the time. We were bused to start line but the ride was pleasant.
Tree shaded flat course
This is a rail to trails race. There is very to no technical skill necessary. The expo was tiny and the medal was made out of wood. I really like … MORE
This is a rail to trails race. There is very to no technical skill necessary. The expo was tiny and the medal was made out of wood. I really like the layout of the route but as usual I was too hot to produce a great run.
Is this Heaven?!? No, it's Iowa.
If you like rural courses, small crowds, local hospitality and peaceful scenery, this is your race. Nearly 22 miles of the race course are on the Wabash Trace trail, a … MORE
If you like rural courses, small crowds, local hospitality and peaceful scenery, this is your race. Nearly 22 miles of the race course are on the Wabash Trace trail, a “Rails to Trails” system that stretches 85 miles across Iowa. You won’t be needing sunscreen as most of the route is one long, straight, flat, green tunnel through a corridor of trees and bordered by rolling cornfields. (Be careful not to step on the black walnuts that litter the path, though!) You will cross over 20 wooden bridges along the way, many of which were originally train trestles. There are porta-Johns along the route, but I took great delight in doing my best James Earl Jones impression by peering into the surrounding cornfields, giggling and then stepping between the stalks and out of sight. For the slower runners (present company included), the race has a hard stop at 6 hours, which is usually about where Slow Juan finishes. At Mile 16, I looked back to see a 4-wheeler with 2 EMTs trailing the final three runners in the field, picking up the Mile signs along the way. I’ve never been the caboose in a race before and found the squee-gee experience of a sweep vehicle a little disconcerting. Just the same, this is a great small-town race and highly recommended for a true Iowa experience. Go the distance.
Great small town choice for Iowa
This was my 45th state and 51st marathon, getting Iowa checked off the list. It's very small but that's a good thing in my opinion. Here are the pros and … MORE
This was my 45th state and 51st marathon, getting Iowa checked off the list. It’s very small but that’s a good thing in my opinion. Here are the pros and cons as I saw them:
-Small – low key race production and minimal communication until the week of. No spam just important info leading up to race day.
-Easy packet pickup day of or day before. Took two minutes.
-Pasta dinner was at a restaurant and was actually pretty good. Could buy ahead of time or there.
-Transportation to the start – only about 100 marathoners so pretty easy. They had buses that took us to Malvern.
-Start was at a school so indoor hangout area and real bathrooms.
-Good amount of aid stations, about every two miles and then about every mile after mile 20. Gatorade and water with some food and power blocks.
-Great course! There are about two miles on roads in Malvern, shaded and easy, then a rail to trail fine limestone surface for the next 22 miles or so. It’s all blessedly shaded for the first 23-24 miles with only some gaps of sunshine. Scenic and peaceful, I was alone or nearly so for much of the run which is ok with me. You’re running by corn fields and farms. Supposedly bugs can be a problem but I sprayed myself down and didn’t notice or hear about any issue on this day.
-Medal – it’s a wooden medallion with the logo. Very unique and pretty. The shirt was okay, not a fan of the color but long sleeve and technical with the great logo on the front.
-We started a bit late, not sure why.
-Mile signs were off on the trail portions but seemed fine and on target by the end. I logged over 26.35 miles.
-Age group awards only went two deep. I got third. But it’s a small race so this is understandable.
-Heat. Certainly not the race’s fault but be aware. The start was cool, about 60. Warmed up to above 80 by the last few miles. The shade and breeze made the difference but the last couple of miles were warm.
Overall I thought this was a great low key marathon. I’d recommend it for anyone looking for an alternative to a city marathon. They do a nice job in the organization and it’s a cute little town with a few good places to check out. I recommend the pasta dinner the night before and The Sanctuary restaurant is great for lunch or post-race meal. The Shenandoah Inn and Suites is great for the start and bus loading as well as the finish – two blocks away.