Crowd support is huge, but being a good spectator takes preparation and work. If you’re planning on watching on race day, follow these tips can be an asset.

Many of the roads surrounding the IMT Des Moines Marathon route will be closed on race day. Road closures and traffic re-routes will be posted closer to the event.

Know When to Watch

MercyOne 5-Mile Run & 1-Mile Walk

It starts at 8 am at Principal Park on Saturday, October 16.

Course highlights include the Meredith Trail, Gray’s Lake Park, and the Des Moines skyline’s great views along the Raccoon River.

MercyOne Children’s Hospital Kids Run

It starts at 9:30 am at Principal Park on Sunday, October 16.

Course distances range from 20 yards to 1-Mile featuring Principal Park and a loop around the warning track of the baseball field.

IMT Des Moines Marathon & Half Marathon

It starts at 8 am on Court Avenue on Sunday, October 17.

Finishers will cross the finish line as early as 9:15 am in the IMT Des Moines Half Marathon and 10:00 am in the IMT Des Moines Marathon. The bulk of the runners and some of the walkers are expected to finish before 1 pm. The course is open for seven (7) hours.

Bankers Trust Marathon Relay

It starts at 8 am on Court Avenue on Sunday, October 17.

This is a fun race to watch as the 1st team member completes the first 4 miles of the marathon course, the 2nd member the next 6 miles, the 3rd member completes 4 miles, followed by the 4th member of the team who completes 6 miles. The last team member completes the final 6 miles of the race, with all team members joining together for the final .2 miles. Look for Bankers Trust Maraton Relay teams to cross the finish line at various times throughout the day.

Principal Park 5K Road Race

It starts at 8:30 am on Court Avenue.

The first athletes return to cross the finish line as early as 8:45 a.m. Most athletes complete the race by 9:15 am.

Know Where to Watch

Principal Park

It is a great location to watch all of the events on Saturday and the first mile and final mile of their races on Sunday… where support is needed most!

Drake University

Home of the Drake Relays and the blue oval. Marathon route at Mile 12. Drake Stadium is open to spectators. Great place to see the athletes on campus stoic with running history.

Water Works Park

Solace and green space in the middle of the city. The best way to arrive at Water Works Park is via 63rd Street, Park Avenue, Valley Drive/George Flagg Parkway, or Thomas Beck Road, to SW 30th. Plenty of parking is available just outside the entrance to the park at SW 30th.

Gray’s Lake Park

A true gem in Des Moines. Park in the southwestern parking lot of Gray’s Lake Park, accessible from Fleur Drive and George Flagg Parkway or Thomas Beck Road.

W MLK JR PKWY (between 11th Street and 3rd Street)

Stunning views of the downtown skyline. A long straight away before the end of the race.

Know What to Look For

Athletes must have their race number/bib visible at all times. Typically race numbers/bibs 1 through 100 are reserved for professional & elite athlete status.

MercyOne 5-Mile Run race number/bib colors are purple, and mile markers are purple.

IMT Des Moines Marathon race number/bib colors are orange, and mile markers are orange.

IMT Des Moines Half Marathon race number/bib colors are light blue, and mile markers are light blue.

Bankers Trust Marathon Relay race number/bib colors are orange, and transition areas are orange.

Principal Park 5K Road Race race number/bib colors are green, and mile markers are green.

IMT Des Moines Marathon Maniac & Half Fanatics Pace Team leaders wear safety yellow singlets in the Marathon & Half Marathon divisions with associated green race numbers/bibs.


Download the free IMT DMM App for 2021. You can find all the information you like to know about the IMT Des Moines Marathon: course maps, updates via social media, LiveTracking, and more.

Don’t forget you can track an athlete’s progress live during the race. With the IMT DMM App, you can see in real-time where they are at on the course. The IMT DMM App uses the crossing of the timing mats to calculate your athlete’s average speed and pace.

Available for free download now through iTunes and the Google Play Stores.

Know the Course

Get acquainted with the courses for the race you want to watch. Athletes will spend time with the course map to become more familiar with the race. It helps them 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 upon 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 IMT DMM Ambassadors at the DMOS Orthopaedic Sports & Fitness Expo and around Court Avenue on race day.

Here are eleven tips designed to ensure you are a supportive spectator on race day. Click here.