Drake Relays Road Races Half Marathon & 5K

Saturday, April 30, 2016 • Des Moines, IA • Course Map

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.

More than 1,000 runners crossed the finish line last year in the half marathon, which features a total prize purse of $70,000 — $12,000 each to the first-place male and female finishers in the elite division, and $2,000 each to the top male and female runners in the Masters division (runners age 40 and older).

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.

The start of the 2013 Hy-Vee Road Races at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Phil Roeder/flickr)

The start of the Hy-Vee Road Races at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Phil Roeder/flickr)

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 30), the average low is 47ºF and the average high is 68ºF.

Past Results

Course Map

See the race route map for the Drake Relays Half Marathon here.

Starting Time

  • 7:30 AM – half marathon
  • 7:45 AM – 5K


  • $50 for the half marathon, if registered by February 15, 2016
  • $60 between Feb. 15 – April 15
  • $75 between April 16 – 28
  • $90 between April 29 – 30


To reserve your spot in the spring 2016 running of Des Moines’ Road Races at the Drake Relays Half Marathon or 5K race, register online at GetMeRegistered.com here.

Official Race Website


Facebook Conversations

Ever run in the Drake Relays Half Marathon? Share your impressions here, or post your review in the Comments below.

See more races in: April, Iowa

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