Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Des Moines Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Well folks, I finished. And it was faster than I expected.

Originally I wanted to finish in 4 hours, which isn’t a record or anything, but being on the mend from whatever I did to my hip has really taken a long time.

Remember this guy…

I bet you didn’t come here to listen to me whine about my struggles in life but to know if you should run the Des Moines Marathon

Yes. Yes you should.

In full transparency I went into this experience believing that it would be a “humdrum” / mom-and-pop type experience.
There were so few people at the expo, it almost ratified my preconception. There were more volunteers than participants (which is a good problem to have.)

The race exceeded all of my expectations.
It wasn’t a flat run around cornfields; there were hills and lakes and a university track.
There were people cheering, loudly! Not just your neighbor on their lawn, but the neighborhood!

The good:
Big town feel, small town race.
Family fast course.

The bad:
Getting there wound up being more arduous than I expected, but really nothing “bad”.

Registration and Race communication:
Fantastic updates from the RD. At regular and reliable intervals. They did course previews and strategies on Facebook and unless you, on a whim, registered the night before because you were stuck in town there were no surprises or unexpected hills. (I will say the folks on Foster Drive need to repave their street….)

Course difficulties:
With the exception of the mile….18? Aid station everything was spot on. That was a difficultone to get to because it was in the middle of the trail. In the moment I was not happy, but all-in-all it wasn’t a deal breaker.. There were porto-potties at regular intervals. The aid stations were marked. The volunteers were fantastic. There were no surprises between Gatorade and water.
The only improvement I would suggest would be the first aid folks at mile 19 could be more present. I saw the ambulance, but I only needed biofreeze (mile 22 made up for it lol 😆)

As far as a course breakdown miles 1 through 3-ish are as flat as you would expect in the Midwest…3-8 are up-ish. Not crazy but up.

10 through 13 feel flat (net down hill) But with the lap around Drake University campus; it feels fast.

I think my only gripe would be the little outcropping onto the bridge close to the finish line it feels like that’s how you get the .2 in 26.2… it’s the only part I didn’t like.

The Swag:
The medal was neat, designed for you to take advantage of the race weekend. It has a notch to hang your Saturday being from your Sunday being
I liked the shirt. It wasn’t super luxe, but its nice. The marathon had 26.2 on the back and that half 13.1. I appreciate that it isn’t a tshirt (its a 1/4 zip) I may actually wear this one!

Aid stations were about average (except for the bacon guy at mile 10)
The amazing thing were the racing support cyclists. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this
If I did, it wasn’t in a way that made me feel that I had my own entourage of support personnel.

Let me stop you here to reinforce that there was an army of people on bicycles bicycles bringing things to runners…

Not a race call out, but certainly notable is that there was something to eat for all dietary needs in Des Moines.
Again, didn’t expect Des Moines to have so many gluten free/vegan/vegetarian options
It just made the experience that much better.

In short
Do this race.
The RD has so many volunteers and the course is well designed and gives you an amazing opportunity to tour Des Moines by foot.

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