Overall Rating
Overall Rating (3 Reviews)
3.7
(3 Ratings)(3 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.3
SCENERY
4
PRODUCTION
3.7
SWAG
3
The Wabash Trace Nature Trail is a tree-lined mostly flat converted railroad line that crosses through the scenic Iowa countryside. All three events are point-to-point races finishing in downtown Shenandoah, 6 hour time limit. Shenandoah, Iowa, the city with energy… a beautiful garden city with renewable fuels production and plenty … MORE
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Recent reviews

    usamhall FIRST-TIMER '18

    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.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    SlowJuan FIRST-TIMER '18

    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.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    2

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    M_Sohaskey Oct 05, 2018 at 1:47pm

    Ha, great "Field of Dreams" references! Wabash sounds like quintessential Iowa and a nostalgic slice of Americana, from its rolling cornfields to its wooden bridges to its black walnuts. Thanks… MORE

    Ha, great "Field of Dreams" references! Wabash sounds like quintessential Iowa and a nostalgic slice of Americana, from its rolling cornfields to its wooden bridges to its black walnuts. Thanks for another awesome review Slow Juan, and congrats on staying ahead of the sweep vehicle — glad you got it done and had a great time doing it! LESS

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    SlowJuan Oct 05, 2018 at 2:20pm

    Thanks for the kind words! Much appreciated. This was a low-key, low cost option for an Iowa marathon and I really enjoyed the remote, rural aspects of the course. The… MORE

    Thanks for the kind words! Much appreciated. This was a low-key, low cost option for an Iowa marathon and I really enjoyed the remote, rural aspects of the course. The Mount Desert Island (MDI) in Bar Harbor, ME is up next. Have heard nothing but rave reviews about this particular race. Really looking forward to it. And as slow as I am, I'll have plenty of time to enjoy the scenery. Gotta go to Bah Hawbah to get some lobstah! LESS

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    M_Sohaskey Oct 05, 2018 at 3:30pm

    I've heard the same about Mount Desert, and in fact it made our list of 2018 "Quick picks" earlier this year. Hoping to get there myself in 2019, so look… MORE

    I've heard the same about Mount Desert, and in fact it made our list of 2018 "Quick picks" earlier this year. Hoping to get there myself in 2019, so look forward to your thoughts. Enjoy Acadia! LESS

     
    RunnerMeg FIRST-TIMER '17

    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:

    Pros:
    -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.

    Cons:
    -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.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

    5 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

    M_Sohaskey Sep 14, 2017 at 6:39pm

    This is awesome Meg, loved reading it! Particularly because I really don't know any marathons in Iowa outside Des Moines. The wooden medallion piques my interest (thanks for the photo),… MORE

    This is awesome Meg, loved reading it! Particularly because I really don't know any marathons in Iowa outside Des Moines. The wooden medallion piques my interest (thanks for the photo), I love races like Wabash, Big Sur and Crazy Horse that have unique medals that stand out from the usual shiny bling. And what says "Welcome to Iowa" more than running past farms and corn fields? Congrats on state 45, can't believe you're so close – 4 more and then you'll be celebrating on the beach in Maui. Enjoy your two-week respite! LESS

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  1. Races
  2. Wabash Trace Nature Marathon, Half Marathon and Relay