Here 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 – Road Closures
Download the IMT Des Moines Marathon mobile app and find spectator and race day information at your fingertips. Schedules, maps, where to eat and play and many more features are available. IMT DMM PRO is available for free through the iTunes and Google Play stores on both smartphones and tablets.
The IMT DMM PRO mobile app includes a variety of course maps including this interactive race day guide and mapping system. Interactive Course Map
SATURDAY The Mercy Live Up Loop 5 Mile Run starts Saturday at 8:00 am at Principal Park. The route highlights the Meredith Trail, Gray’s Lake Park, great views of Des Moines along the Racoon River and of course Principal Park home of the Iowa Cubs.
The Mercy Children’s Hospital & Clinics Junior Jog follows the completion of the Mercy Live Up Loop at 9:30 am. For distances and start times visit the Junior Jog page.
SUNDAY The IMT Des Moines Marathon starts Sunday at 8:00 am at Cowles Commons. IMT Des Moines Marathon finishers will begin to cross the finish line as early 10:00 am. The bulk of the runners and some of the walkers are expected to finish before 1:00 pm. The course is open for 7 hours.
The IMT Des Moines Half Marathon starts Sunday at 8:00 am at Cowles Commons. The race starts with the IMT Des Moines Marathon. IMT Des Moines Half Marathon finishers will begin to cross the finish line as early 9:15 am. The bulk of the IMT Des Moines Half Marathon runners and some of the walkers are expected to finish before noon. The course is open for 7 hours.
The Bankers Trust Marathon Relay presented by the Iowa Games starts Sunday at 8:00 am at Cowles Commons. The race starts with the IMT Des Moines Marathon & Half Marathon. This is a fun race to watch as the 1st team member runs the first 4 miles of the marathon course, the 2nd member runs the 6 miles, the 3rd member runs 5 miles, followed by the 4th member of the team who also runs a 5 mile leg. The last member of the team runs the final 6.2 miles of the marathon course. 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 Bankers Trust Marathon Relay course map for transition areas along the course. Transition areas are a fun place to catch all of the race day action and excitement for not only the Bankers Trust Marathon Relay, but the IMT Des Moines Marathon & Half Marathon as well.
The Principal Financial Group 5K Road Race starts Sunday at 8:30 am. Look for the first runners to break the finish line tape as early as 8:45 am and the bulk of finishers in by 9:00 am.
START AND FINISH LINE The Mercy Live Up Loop and Mercy Children’s Hospital & Clinics Junior Jog start and finish at Principal Park on Saturday at 8:00 am.
The IMT Des Moines Marathon & Half Marathon, Bankers Trust Marathon Relay and The Principal Financial Group 5K Road Race start and finish at Cowles Commons on Sunday. Races begin at 8:00 am and will welcome finishers until 3:00 pm.
Hy-Vee will be serving up breakfast sandwiches, cinnamon rolls, and hot coffee/hot chocolate for the start of the races and will then switch over to a lunch menu offering walking tacos, burgers, hot dogs/brats and soda/water. Beer will also be available for sale at the post-race party.
DRAKE UNIVERSITY Home of the Drake Relays. 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. Drake Stadium is open to spectators on race day. This is a great place to see the athletes pass by on a campus stoic with running history.
WATER WORKS PARK Solace and green space in the middle of the city. The IMT Des Moines Marathon & Half Marathon reconvene with one another in Water Works Park. Join the MORE 104.1 Spectator Zone at mile 21/8. Bleachers, today’s best variety of music, and food/drink await you in the park including Tacopocalypse tacos.
For many athletes Water Works Park 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 cheer support in this area of the course.
The best way to arrive at Water Works Park is via 63rd Street to Park Avenue to Valley Drive/George Flagg Parkway or Thomas Beck Road to SW 30th to Water Works Park. Plenty of parking is available just outside the entrance to the park.
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 A true gem in Des Moines. IMT Des Moines Marathon & Half Marathon athletes will exit out of Water Works Park by crossing over Fleur Drive and into Gray’s Lake Park for a 2 mile trail loop around the lake. Park in the southeastern parking lot of Gray’s Lake, accessible off Thomas Beck Road.
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. PARKWAY Stunning view of the downtown skyline. A long straight away allows for easy viewing of the final miles of the races with the Des Moines skyline serving as the backdrop. Park at Principal Park, home of the Iowa Cubs, and walk a block or two to catch the end of the race. Stop in at el Bait Shop at for refreshments and great race day specials.
COWLES COMMONS Newly renovated, Cowles Commons has transformed itself into Des Moines’ newest downtown playground. Bleacher seating, course entertainment and food options make this a great place to watch the athletes make their final push towards the finish line.
RACE NUMBER/BIB All athletes in the IMT Des Moines Marathon must have a race number/bib visible at all times. If they registered far enough in advance their bib will even include their first name. Elite athletes are assigned the lowest race number/bib in each of the races. Typically race numbers/bibs under 100 are reserved for elite athletes.
The Principal Financial Group 5K Road Race race number/bib colors are olive-green and mile markers are green.
IMT Des Moines Marathon race number/bib colors are light blue and mile markers are orange.
IMT Des Moines Half Marathon race number/bib colors are orange and mile markers are light blue.
Bankers Trust Marathon Relay race number/bib colors are light green and transition areas are orange.
Running Room Pace Team leaders will be wearing safety yellow singlets for the Marathon & Half Marathon with green race number/bib colors. Pace Team leaders also have a bib on the back of their singlet with their official pace group time.
Friends and family can track the progress of athletes in the IMT Des Moines Marathon & Half Marathon and Bankers Trust Marathon Relay throughout the course by signing up for Athlete Tracking. Results for all events are published in real-time during and immediately following the race. Follow the leaderboard at the official Results Page.
Can’t find your athlete? Check at the Mercy Medical Center Tent near the Finish Line at Cowles Commons. You can also stop at the Mediacom Results Tent to request a print out of their split times and finish time.
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. Interactive Course Map
Don’t park your vehicle on the course or you risk being 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.
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.
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. 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. Whatever you do, have fun and be loud!
Ask for additional suggestions and tips from the IMT Des Moines Marathon Ambassadors at the Scheels Sports & Fitness Expo and around Cowles Commons on race day.