Crowd support is enormous, but being a good spectator takes preparation and work. If you plan to watch on race day, the following tips can be an asset.

Many roads surrounding the IMT Des Moines Marathon route will be closed on race day.

For City of Des Moines road closures and traffic reroutes, click here.

Start & Finish and Course Maps. Click here.

IMT Des Moines Marathon & Half Marathon

It starts at 8 am on Court Avenue on Sunday, October 15.

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. Most runners and some walkers finish before 1 pm. The course is open for seven (7) hours.

IMT Des Moines Marathon Pace Chart. Click here.

IMT Des Moines Half Marathon Pace Chart. Click here.

Bankers Trust Marathon Relay

It starts at 8 am on Court Avenue on Sunday, October 15.

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 ends the final 6 miles of the race, with all team members joining together for the final .2 miles. Look for Bankers Trust Marathon Relay teams to cross the finish line throughout the day.

Principal Park 5K Road Race

It starts at 8:30 am on Court Avenue on Sunday, October 15.

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

MercyOne Children’s Hospital Kids Run

It starts at noon at the Science Center of Iowa on Sunday, October 15.

Places Along the Course to Watch

Principal Park

It is a great location to watch all the races in the early and last miles, 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 at the Christine Hensley Overlook Terrace.

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop 

Stunning views of the downtown skyline. A long straight away before the end of the race. 300 MLK Jr. Pkwy.

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.

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

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

Bankers Trust Marathon Relay race number/bib colors are yellow, and transition areas are marked in yellow.

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

IMT Des Moines Pace Team leaders wear red Fitness Sports singlets in the Marathon & Half Marathon divisions with associated race numbers/bibs.


Free. Find everything you want: maps, schedule, parking, LiveTracking, results, and more. Supporters can track your progress during the race. Download now through iTunes and the Google Play Stores.


Downtown Des Moines offers more than 30,000 public parking spaces, including seven public parking ramps and approximately 3,100 street parking spaces. All City-owned parking garages charge $1 per hour with a daily max of $10 (excluding special events). All downtown street parking spaces charge $0.25 – $1.75 per hour from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Find parking.

Know the Course

Please 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 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 cars move upon them. Besides, the Des Moines Police Department will remove you and your vehicle from the course.

Bring a blanket, lawn chair, or picnic. You are welcome to pick a spot on the course to watch the athletes pass by or pick a few places to watch. Let them know you are there wherever you root for the athletes. Cheer with enthusiasm. Clap your hands. Bring noisemakers. Make signs. Offer encouragement. Whatever you do, have fun and be loud!

Please feel free to 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 to ensure you are a supportive spectator on race day. Click here.