Run along mostly rolling terrain through the heart of Iowa’s capital city, the half marathon at the event now known as the Hy-Vee Road Races at the Drake Relays have been a fixture in this city for more than four decades — the race will mark its 48th annual running here this spring.
From the starting line near the athletic stadium on the tree-lined campus of Drake University, the race follows a counter-clockwise, out-and-back loop course through the city, winding through a mix of neighborhoods, commercial districts, and park and greenspace areas.
Race organizers say the race is one of Iowa’s best-loved half marathon races, and it’s easy to see why. The course features a pleasing yet also challenging mix of flat and hilly stretches, easing runners into the race for the first couple of miles and then throwing in big downhill and uphill stretches between miles 3 and 6.
The race then flattens out for the next couple of miles before hitting its next significant hills between miles 8 and 10, and then flattens out again for the last two miles to the finish line back at the University campus.
There’s a course time limit of 4 hours for the half marathon, which means that runners are expected to keep an approximately 11-minute-per-mile pace or faster. Organizers plan to re-open the course to traffic after 11:30 AM.
Though they are the marquee races in the Drake Relays road races, Sunday’s events are just the conclusion of an extra-long weekend of track and field events that take place at Drake University’s stadium, where the half, 10K and the 5K start. Tickets are available as part of your race package for the previous days’ events, which take place Thursday through Saturday.
Race Weather & Climate
Located in the southern half of the state and close to its center, Des Moines (the state’s capital city) enjoys warming but still often quite cold weather conditions in April, which has brought record temperatures here as low as 9 degrees (in 1975) and as high as 93 degrees (in 1980).
On race day (April 29), the average low is 45ºF and the average high is 66ºF.
- 7:30 AM – half marathon
- 7:45 AM – 5K
See race website
To reserve your spot in the spring 2017 running of Des Moines’ Road Races at the Drake Relays Half Marathon or 5K race, register online at the event website here.
Official Race Website
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