O’Round the Loch Run Half Marathon, 10K, 5K & 1.7-Mile

Saturday, March 18, 2023 • Emmetsburg, IA • Course Map

Whether it’s snow, rain, sleet or some other wintry mix of frozen and wet precipitation, weather conditions are famously not an obstacle to the annual running of Iowa’s O’Round the Loch Half Marathon, which takes runners around the shores of Five Island Lake, which lies just to the northwest of this small town near the center of the state.

The race’s organizers have even posted a photo in past years of the race on their website (see the link below), showing participants dressed out in full winter gear — with snow on the ground.

The 13.1-mile course for the race, which is largely flat but includes a number of hilly stretches on the roads around the lake, starts and finishes at Emmetsburg’s Smith Wellness Center, at 3200 College Street on the campus of Iowa Lakes Community College.

Following an out-and-back loop course, the half marathon winds through downtown and toward Five Island Lake, making a full trip around the lake along roads including County Highway N48, North Huron Road, 480th Avenue, 320th Street, and 460th Avenue.

Following the race starting time of 8:30 AM, runners — and the race is open to runners only — will be expected to finish the race by the time the finish line ceremony begins at 11:00 AM. The race also includes a 10K, 5K and a 1.7-mile Fun Run/Walk.

Thanks to its date on the calendar, the race also takes on an “Irish” feel as it coincides in many years with the town’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. If you’re in town for the weekend and want to take in some of the local culture, there are talent shows as well as a St. Patrick’s Day parade, and an Irish Mass on Sunday.

Sunrise on Five Island Lake in Emmetsburg, Iowa. (Photo by David Morris/flickr)

Sunrise on Five Island Lake in Emmetsburg, Iowa. (Photo by David Morris/flickr)

Race Weather & Climate

Nestled in the middle of the northern half of the state, about 30 miles from the border with Minnesota, the town of Emmetsburg can get quite cold in the late weeks of winter, though it normally sees relatively little wet weather during this time of year.

On race day (March 18), the average low is 23°F and the average high is 42°F.

Past Results

Course Map

See the race route map for the O’Round the Loch Run Half Marathon here.

Starting Time

  • 8:30 AM – half marathon
  • 8:40 AM – 10K
  • 9:00 AM – 5K
  • 9:10 AM – 1.7-mile fun run & walk


  • $35 for the half marathon, for pre-registered runners
  • $50 on the day of the race


To reserve your spot in the early spring 2023 running of Emmetsburg’s O’Round the Loch Run Half Marathon, 10K, 5K or 1.7-mile run/walk, register online at Enmotive.com here.

Official Race Website



Ever run in the O’Round the Loch Run Half Marathon? Share your impressions here, or post your review in the Comments below.

See more races in: March, Iowa

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