Running Across Iowa

My dad is one of those runners. You know the ones. The ones who run in snow, wind, rain, heat, you name it. My dad hasn’t missed a day in more than 30 years and has logged more than 100,000 miles. And, no, that’s not a typo.

Though I was young at the time, I distinctly remember him returning from an especially cold morning run with frost covering his ski mask. This did not instill in me any desire to run.

Fast forward a few decades and there I was at the start line of my very first 5K run. Who was this person? I swore to my friend that was running it with me that it would be my one and only race I’d ever do. That was four years and many 5Ks, 8Ks, 10Ks and even a half marathon ago.

There’s no shortage of great road races in Iowa. I’ve pulled together some on the racing calendar. Some of them I’d like to try, others I know I’ll likely never do. (Though see above – who knew I’d be a runner?) Did I miss a must-do? Let me know in the comments.

2014 Quad City Times Bix 7 logo - small

Bix 7 – Davenport
: This year marks the 40th anniversary of the legendary seven mile race through Davenport, including the infamous Brady Street Hill. This year’s event, Saturday, July 26, also includes the return of the USA Seven Mile Championship and free registration for active duty military.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road 8K – Newton: This race is taking a hiatus for 2014, but watch for it to return in 2015. The race starts and ends on the Iowa Speedway in Newton. How cool is that?

Des Moines Marathon

Des Moines Marathon – Des Moines: Set for Sunday, October 19. Route starts and ends in downtown Des Moines. Both the half and full marathon routes wind through Water Works Park and Gray’s Lake.


Living History Farms Cross Country Race – Urbandale: The biggest cross country race in the country is capped at 7500 runners. Held annually in November, runners (most of them in costume, which is all part of the fun) wade through creeks, dodge animals and climb up gullies over the seven-mile course.

Dam to Dam – Des Moines: After 34 years as a 20K, the Dam to Dam will mark its 35th anniversary by changing the distance to a half marathon. On May 31, runners will start at Saylorville Dam and finish at Western Gateway Park in Des Moines.


Market to Market – Jefferson to Des Moines: This team race covers 75 miles over 17 stages on a scenic and varied course from Jefferson to Des Moines. Grab five friends and take turns running miles and resting in a vehicle and repeat, repeat, repeat.

Park to Park Half Marathon – Waterloo: The Park to Park half marathon and 5K are two of the area’s premier races. The courses are set up on paved recreation trails, primarily winding through scenic woods along the Cedar River and through four different parks.

Happy running!

Jessica O’Riley | Tourism Communications Manager

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2 thoughts on “Running Across Iowa

  1. Steve Taylor
    April 5, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    A slight correction to my running streak. It will be 29 years on May 30th. Sure hope to get past 30 years. Appreciate the mention!

  2. April 7, 2014 at 9:41 am

    There are so many awesome races listed here! If you’re looking for a challenge, check out the Grinnell Games 10K Twilight Trail Run on June 13. You’ll run the trail around the lake at Rock Creek State Park as you watch the sunset. There is also a 5k, half marathon, and warrior/mud run that weekend in Grinnell.

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