Ask most long distance runners and they will tell you that course support is very helpful when it comes to completing a successful marathon. There is something about a 26.2 mile course lined with cheering spectators that helps to keep the mind from wandering after a few hours.
Perhaps it is a word of encouragement, an inspirational sign or banner, a group of people in costume or a theme at an aid station that will be the one thing an athlete will remember that helped them achieve their goal of accomplishment. Regardless, it can all be summed up in one word…support!
How To Be the Best Spectator - Brianne Sanchez, The Des Moines Register
Race Day Road Closures
Combined Course Map
Race Day Information
Start & Finish Line Map
The IMT Des Moines Marathon & Half Marathon and Bankers Trust Marathon Relay start at 8 a.m.
The Principal Financial Group 5K Road Race starts at 8:30 a.m.
All races start & finish on the Locust Street Bridge | 100 Locust Street | Des Moines, IA 50309
IMT Des Moines Marathon - Souvenir Guide.
Friends and family members are able to sign up online to receive email or text message alerts showing an athlete's progress in real time as he or she completes the course. This allows spectators to keep track of athletes on the course so that they can know when and where to be to show their support. Sign Up Now!
Visit the Volunteer page and be a part of the IMT Des Moines Marathon experience and festivities!
Below are some tips that will help you watch, cheer and encourage athletes of all ages and speeds in the IMT Des Moines Marathon races.
IMT Des Moines Marathon
The IMT Des Moines Marathon start time is at 8:00 a.m. on the Locust Street Bridge. IMT Des Moines Marathon finishers will begin to cross the finish line as early 10:15 to 10:45 a.m. The bulk of the runners and some of the walkers are expected to finish before 2:00 p.m. The course will remain open for 7 hours.
IMT Des Moines Marathon - Half Marathon
The IMT Des Moines Marathon - Half Marathon start time is at 8:00 a.m. on the Locust Street Bridge. IMT Des Moines Marathon - Half Marathon finishers will begin to cross the finish line as early 9:15 a.m. The bulk of the IMT Des Moines Marathon - Half Marathon runners and some of the walkers are expected to finish before noon, though the course remains open for 7 hours. Walkers appreciate course support as much as those with their eyes on the first place prize.
Bankers Trust - Marathon Relay
The Bankers Trust Marathon Relay start time is at 8:00 a.m. on the Locust Street Bridge. This will be a fun race to watch as the 1st team member runs the first 4 miles of the marathon course and then each team member completes consecutive 5 mile legs of the course. An anchor member will complete the final 6.2 mile leg. The leaders of the IMT Des Moines Marathon pack may have to look over their shoulder as Bankers Trust Marathon Relay team members come sprinting up on them with fresh legs. Look for teams to cross the finish line at various times throughout the day.
Consult the IMT Des Moines Marathon course map for Marathon Relay transition areas along the course. Transition areas will be a fun place to catch all of the race day action and excitement.
Principal Financial Group 5K Road Race
The Principal Financial Group 5K Road Race start time is at 8:30 a.m. on the Locust Street Bridge. Don’t hit the snooze button or you may miss this one. Look for the first runners to break the finish line tape as early as 8:45 a.m. and the bulk of the Principal Financial Group 5K Road Race finishers in by 9:15 a.m.
Where to Watch
Start and Finish Line
The IMT Des Moines Marathon races start and finish on the Locust Street Bridge. Join in the race excitement beginning at 7:00 a.m. on race day. Races begin at 8:00 a.m. and will welcome finishers until 3:00 p.m.
Hy-Vee will be serving up breakfast burritos, breakfast sandwiches, cinamon rolls, and hot coffee/hot chocolate for the start of the race. They will then switch over to the lunch menu and offer walking tacos, burgers, hot dogs/brats, and soda/water.
Locust Street Bridge | 100 Locust Street | Des Moines, IA 50309
The IMT Des Moines Marathon route visits the Drake University campus as athletes complete a counter clockwise loop around the state of the art track at mile 12. This is a great place to see the athletes pass by on a campus stoic with running history. Drake University is home to the Drake Relays and will host the 2013 USATF Track and Field Championships.
Water Works Park
The IMT DMarathon & Half Marathon reconvene with one another in Water Works Park. The park serves as an ideal location for peaceful miles of race course. It is flat, allows for vehicle traffic control and showcases the wonderful park systems in Des Moines as the IMT Des Moines Marathon exits Greenwood Park and enters Water Works Park.
Join the STAR 102.5 Spectator Zone at MILE 21/8. Bleachers, today's best variety of music, and food/drink await you in the park including Tacopocalypse.
Tacopocalypse was voted the #2 taco in Des Moines by the readers of Juice this year.
All Tacopocalypse tacos are made with sustainably raised products, we use only our own hand made tortillas, and all items are made from scratch by our chef. We strive to keep all items gluten free and always have great options for Vegetarians and Vegans. We believe in Taco Equality, because Tacos Are Important. Tacopocalypse tacos have been described as "Life Changing"
For many athletes Water Works is the testing ground for the day. The paths can be long and lonely in these later miles of the race. IMT Des Moines Marathon athletes have specifically asked for your support in this area of the course.
The best way to arrive at Water Works Park will be via 63rd Street to Park Avenue to Valley Drive/George Flagg Parkway. Plenty of parking is available and you can walk in to the park. Bands and entertainment will be on hand and concessions will be available. Bring a lawn chair, picnic and/or a blanket and enjoy a refreshing fall morning on the lawn.
Please note that Fleur Drive will be closed between Ingersoll Avenue and George Flagg Parkway from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on race day.
Gray's Lake Park
IMT Des Moines Marathon and Half Marathon athletes will exit out of Water Works Park by crossing over Fleur Drive and into Gray's Lake Park. A 2 mile trail will loop athletes around Gray's Lake. You will find a great vantage point by parking in the southeastern lot of Gray's Lake, which will be accessible on race day off of Thomas Beck Road.
Martin Luther King Drive
The last mile of a long distance race is a great place to see the athletes come in. Martin Luther King Drive is where you will want to be. A long straight away allows for easy viewing with the Des Moines skyline serving as the backdrop. Park at Principal Park, home of the Iowa Cubs and walk a block or two for a viewing area. The finish line is also nearby at Nollen Plaza.
What To Look For
IMT Des Moines Marathon elite athletes will be wearing the lowest race number/bib in each of the races. The remainder of the IMT Des Moines Marathon ace number/bibs are assigned to each athlete based upon their predicted finish time at the time of their registration. The IMT Des Moines Marathon does entertain requests for specific bib numbers.
IMT Des Moines Marathon race number/bib colors and mile markers are yellow.
IMT Des Moines Half Marathon race number/bib colors and mile markers are red.
Bankers Trust Marathon Relay race number/bib colors and transition areas are orange.
Principal Financial Group 5K Road Race race number/bib colors and mile markers are blue.
Running Room Pace Team leaders are wearing yellow singlets for the Marathon and red singlets for the Half Marathon. Pace Team leaders also have bibs on the back of their singlets with their official pace group time.
Tips For Race Day
1. Get acquainted with the IMT Des Moines Marathon race courses. Athletes will spend time with the course map to become more familiar with the race. It helps them to know what is ahead of them such as elevation changes, busy intersections, narrow trail sections and areas of the course where more than one race shares the road.
2. Don't park your vehicle on the course or you will be towed. The emergency No Parking signs you see posted are for the comfort and safety of the athletes. Please respect them. The course map does detail spectator travel routes.
3. Don't drive your vehicle on the course. It could become a hazard to an athlete and may 'spook' some of them as vehicles drive up on them. Besides...the Des Moines Police Department will remove you and your vehicle from the course.
4. Bring a blanket, lawn chair and/or picnic. You are welcome to pick a spot on the course to watch the athletes pass by or pick a few spots to watch. Either way, have fun and be loud!
5. Finally, line the streets. Make sure to consult the official course map in the souvenir guide for travel routes and street closures.
Ask for additional suggestions and tips from the IMT Des Moines Marathon ambassadors at the Scheels Sports & Fitness Expo.
Wherever you chose to root on the athletes, let them know you are there. Cheer with enthusiasm. Clap your hands. Bring noisemakers. Make signs. Offer encouragement. Most importantly, have fun!
The IMT Des Moines Marathon strives to offer a safe event and be a good neighbor by offering alternatives for advance planning to avoid any inconvenience. We greatly appreciate your consideration and acknowledgment of this event. We ask for one day each year, that runners, walkers, spectators and volunteers are given the right a way. Please be polite. We appreciates your patience.
Drive With Caution
In addition to the support from the Des Moines Police Department Public Works and Traffic Unit, the IMT Des Moines Marathon has more than sixty course marshals, fifty Mercy Medical Center First Aid volunteers, fifty Bike Iowa bike support cyclists, pace cars, official course vehicles, Mercy Medical Center ambulances and sag wagons, motorcycles and scooters assisting in providing a safe race for the athletes.
Please yield to all IMT Des Moines Marathon athletes.
Please yield to City of Des Moines Police Department.
Please stay alert and patient
Please try to be aware of delays in and around all portions of downtown from 6:45 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
The IMT Des Moines Marathon has taken into account that the 26.2 mile course is shared by many churches. With respect and consideration, we have designed the IMT Des Moines Marathon course to not infringe on Sunday worship for any length of time. There are some portions of the course where places of worship are located on or near the route.
We would like to thank everyone for being extra cautious and patient with delays. Church locations that could be affected are Grand Avenue, South of Grand and Drake University neighborhoods and Polk Boulevard.
Approximate race course peak traffic times are 8:20 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
Good Neighbor Policy
As an organization, the IMT Des Moines Marathon resides in the city of Des Moines, Iowa. The residents and businesses of Des Moines are our neighbors, and we are theirs.
We strive to be a good neighbor by doing the following: We realize that the IMT Des Moines Marathon impacts the residents, motorists and businesses of Des Moines. We will strive to minimize that impact wherever and whenever possible.
We will work closely with the Des Moines Police Department, residents and businesses, and listen to their concerns. We will look for ways to resolve ongoing problem areas. When we consider changes to the marathon course, we will look at the possible impact on our neighbors, and make that one of our chief concerns.
We will train our course workers and volunteers to be mindful of our neighbors. We will ask that they be courteous and friendly. While their first priority is to the enjoyment and safety of the runners, they should be ever mindful of the need to minimize the marathon's impact on our neighbors.
They will strive to keep traffic flowing as smoothly as possible, without sacrificing the safety of the runners. They will work to restore normal traffic flow to streets and roads as soon as possible after the last runner has passed.
We will leave the streets and roads we use cleaner then they were before the marathon passed by. We will remove all litter we find along the course.
We realize that doing business with our neighbors is good policy. We will strive to obtain the goods and services we use for the marathon from our neighbor's businesses whenever possible.
The IMT Des Moines Marathon wishes to establish itself as one of the finest running events in the country. Our success will not be possible without the cooperation and participation of our neighbors, the residents and businesses of Des Moines.
Visit the Volunteer page and be a part of the IMT Des Moines Marathon experience and festivities!