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Des Moines Marathon Strategy

Updated: Jul 21, 2021

Des Moines Marathon Course Strategy Runner

Des Moines Marathon: Super-Polite People,Trails and Turns

Fallback point: Mile 6

This is another very popular and picturesque race in the Midwest.  You will have a terrific race experience!  The typically cool race day weather can provide excellent opportunities for PRs and Boston Qualifying times.  However, there are lots of turns on the course which may slow runners a bit if they aren’t prepared. 

Please note, at 1,500 participants this is a smaller race than many people are used to. You may find yourself running solo in places; run your own race and do not be tempted to speed up if you feel ‘behind’. 

Name of the game is to hold back until you pass Drake University.   Anyone who starts off too fast will slow dramatically on the turns between miles 4-6; no one will pass you after mile 7.  The worse of this is behind you once you hit mile 9, keep holding the reins until you enter Greenwood Park and hit the Bill Riley Trail around the 12-Mile Marker.

Feel free to open up a bit and enjoy the scenery as you loop around Gray’s Lake.  As you exit the Meredith Trail and hop onto the Martin Luther King Jr Parkway between mile 18 and 19, mentally prepare yourself for the 12 dogleg left turns standing between Mile 20 and the finish line.   Hold back until you cross the parkway just after Mile 22, then try to pick up the pace where you can and negative split to the finish.  Do not take ANY of the turns after mile 21 too narrowly since your ankles will already be tired; each sharp turns will add a lot of stress so don’t be afraid to round the corners widely.  You are better off conserving energy at this point than trying to shave .095 off of your final distance.

MK Fleming is the founder of Fitness Protection, LLC where she trains runners for $29 per month and gives marathon plans away for free. Click here to download her most popular Marathon plan, Tenacious AF, free!

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