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.
The IMT Des Moines Marathon starts at 8:00 a.m. on the Locust Street Bridge. IMT Des Moines Marathon finishers will begin to cross the finish line as early 10:10 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 is open for 7 hours.
The IMT Des Moines Half Marathon starts at 8:00 a.m. on the Locust Street Bridge. IMT Des Moines Half Marathon finishers will begin to cross the finish line as early 9:15 a.m. 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 at 8:00 a.m. on the Locust Street Bridge. 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 a 6 mile leg, the 3rd member runs a 5 mile leg, as well as the 4th member and the last member runs 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 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 Marathon Relay but IMT Des Moines Marathon & Half Marathon as well.
The Principal Financial Group 5K Road Race starts at 8:45 a.m. on the Locust Street Bridge. Look for the first runners to break the finish line tape as early as 9:00 a.m. and the bulk of The Principal Financial Group 5K Road Race finishers in by 9:30 a.m.
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 sandwiches, cinnamon rolls, and hot coffee/hot chocolate for the start of the race and will then switch over to a lunch menu offering walking tacos, burgers, hot dogs/brats and soda/water.
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 and 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.
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.
IMT Des Moines Marathon race number/bib colors are light blue and mile markers are yellow.
IMT Des Moines Half Marathon race number/bib colors are orange and mile markers are red.
Bankers Trust Marathon Relay race number/bib colors are light green and transition areas are orange.
The Principal Financial Group 5K Road Race race number/bib colors are olive-green and mile markers are blue.
Running Room Pace Team leaders will be wearing safety orange 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.
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.
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.