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Race Dates

2018: Sunday, October 21, 2018
2017: Sunday, October 15, 2017

Course Information

Profile: Rolling Hills
Type: Loop
Surface: Road/Pavement
Certified?: Yes

Race Day Weather

Mean Temp.: 52°F (11°C)
Average High: 63°F (17°C)
Average Low: 42° F (5°C)

Historical Weather

PR Score & Course Score

PR Score: 98.50
Course Score: 98.50

Race Size

2017: 1,135 Finishers
2016: 1,373 Finishers
2015: 1,394 Finishers

BQ Percentages

2018: N/A
2017: 11.7%
2016: 6.8%

Miscellaneous Information

Pace Groups?: Yes

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Course Description

Marathon Rankings

The Des Moines Marathon was the 75th largest marathon in the U.S. last year and was the 67th largest in 2016.

Last year 11.7% of finishers qualified for the Boston Marathon and 6.8% of runners qualified for Boston in 2016.

This gives the Des Moines Marathon the 160th highest percentage of Boston Marathon qualifiers in the U.S. last year and the 320th highest percentage in 2016.

Its Course Score of 98.50 ranks it as the 269th fastest marathon course in the U.S. and the 1st fastest course in Iowa.

The typical race time temperature and humidity levels are within the ideal range for optimal marathon performance. This, coupled with the Course Score, gives the Des Moines Marathon a PR Score of 98.50. This PR Score ranks it as the 212th fastest marathon in the U.S. and the 1st fastest in Iowa.

Learn more about PR Scores and Course Scores on the FAQ page.

Elevation Chart

Max Elevation: 988 feet (301m)
Min Elevation: 783 feet (238m)


Recent Des Moines Marathon Reviews

5 Stars from 3 Reviews
View all Reviews

review of 2016 Des Moines Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


Nice course, great volunteers, post-race food from local restaurants is awesome. New course in 2016 adds a tough hill at mile 23.

Race Tips

Long uphill during miles 2-3. Once at top of hill, almost completely flat until back downhill around mile 12. Completely flat again until mile 23, with a big uphill around the State Capitol then back down hill again and flat to finish. Water stops at almost every mile, which was great. Even if you don't want water that often, it reduces the congestion because not everybody will be stopping at the same stops. Miles 20-23 have some out and back loops on streets, definitely less "scenic" than the first two-thirds of the course.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Local YMCA is open in the morning for runners to come in. Nice to stay warm/dry in case of cooler temps/rain. Real bathrooms and water fountains. Showers might be available post-race (not sure). Arrived 20 minutes early, corral start, easy to navigate.

review of 2016 Des Moines Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


Very well run event. Interesting course. Great food at the end. Get to run a lap on the famous Drake Stadium track.

Race Tips

More hills than you might think for being in Iowa.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Traffic isn't an issue.

review of 2012 Des Moines Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


Des Moines Marathon is big and small at the same time - just like the city itself. It is definitely a well organized event, and I enjoyed the atmosphere of the racers and the spectators. The start/finish area is one of my favorites for its level of organization and its size - plenty of room to walk it off or even sit and rest. Doing this marathon again in 2014 because it is my favorite.

Race Tips

There is a nice hill at mile 7, but the overall course is fairly flat. Expect nice temps at the start line. October in Iowa can be either cool or warm, so watch the forecast as race day approaches.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

I've run different years, and I've always stated at the Mercy Campus Holiday Inn. It is close to downtown without being in it, which means lower $$ than the downtown hotels, plus a nice warm up walk to the start line.

Finish Time Equivalent

If you ran the Des Moines Marathon in 3:19:00, what would your time in the Boston Marathon be?

See how your race times would compare on other marathon courses using the Marathon Time Converter Tool.