Saturday, January 23, 2021 • Dubuque, IA • Course Map
Just west of this city along the Mississippi in the dead of winter each year, a group of hardy souls takes to the snow-covered hills of eastern Iowa by foot, bicycle and skis for the annual Triple D Winter Race, which features a half marathon, full marathon and a 5K race.
As the race organizers put it, this race isn’t about making a great time or competing necessarily to beat your competitors — it’s simply about finding the toughness and perseverance to finish.
That’s because the race takes place in some of the harshest conditions you’ll find at any race in America, in mid-January when this part of eastern Iowa often sees temperatures tumble into the teens and even the single digits.
There’s also often plenty of snow on the ground, which explains why the organizers offer entrants the chance to either run or ski the marathon, half marathon or the 5K.
Adding to the test is that while volunteers will be out during the race, runners and skiers will need to bring their own water, refreshments, dry clothing and extra shoes and other items with them during the race, so they can make adjustments and refuel as necessary — it’s all part of the challenge (and the fun, they add).
Runners, skiers and bikers will meet at their respective starting lines for each race; for runners, this is the Durango Depot pub, overlooking the Little Maquoketa River.
From the start, the race takes runners along the Heritage Trail, a mostly well-groomed trail that stretches all the way from Dyersville to Dubuque, although the half marathoners in this course will be running a 6.5-mile out-and-back section southwest of Durango.
There’s always a good chance that the trail will be snow-covered — a few years ago, the race trail was covered in 9 inches of snow in spots — so come prepared to change your shoes and/or wear water-resistant ones.
Race Weather & Climate
Nestled along the winding Mississippi River in eastern Iowa, where that state meets the borders of both Illinois and Wisconsin, Durango typically sees very cold January temperatures, which have fallen to as low as 31 degrees below zero (in 1951) and risen as high as 61 degrees (in 1981).
On race day (Jan. 23), the average low is 8°F and the average high is 26°F. Snow is usually plentiful, as the area averages 7.9 inches of the white stuff in January.
- 10:00 AM – 30-mile bike race
- 10:30 AM – half marathon, 5K
- $40 and up for the half marathon
- $25 and up for the 5K
To reserve your spot in the 2021 running of Durango’s Triple D Winter Race Marathon, Half Marathon or 5K race, register online at Active.com here.
Official Race Website
Ever run in Iowa’s annual Triple D Winter Race Half Marathon? Share your impressions here, or post your review in the Comments box below.