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Additional race information can be found at http://wgwltrail.com/ironhorseraces/.
USATF Event Licence ID: #142954
The IronHorse Races include a Full Marathon (Boston Qualifier), Half Marathon, 10K and 5K Run. All are USATF Sanctioned. The Full Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K are USATF Certified. The Full Marathon takes place on the Wapsi-Great Western Line (WGWL) Trail located in Riceville, Iowa and the Shooting Star Trail in Minnesota. The Half Marathon, 10K and 5K take place on the WGWL Trail. The WGWL Trail has a Northern Branch and a Southern Branch. The races take place on the Rails-to-Trails recognized paved and concrete laid Northern Branch. The Iowan WGWL Trail is the first and official interstate trail connecting to Minnesota's Shooting Star Trail.
5K and 10K runners will experience railroad level grades on a paved trail out-and-back course. Full and Half runners will experience winding woodlands and railroad level grades on a paved trail from point-to-point. Full marathon runners will also experience a four-mile section on crushed rock at the midway point.
Safety is paramount. The race is located largely on a dedicated recreational trail. Shuttles provide Full and Half marathon racers transportation to the starting points.* Full Marathon starting point is the Shooting Star Trailhead in LeRoy, Minnesota. Starting point for the Half Marathon is the Minnesota/Iowa stateline and for the 10K and 5K start, it is the WGWL Trailhead in Riceville. Full and Half Marathon courses are point-to-point. 10K and 5K course is an out-and-back. Aid stations and port-a-potties are located along the race route. The finish of all races is at the WGWL Trailhead Welcome Center in Riceville, Iowa (110 Main Street).
Scenery is extraordinary. Rural and quiet, yet full of American beauty like cattle grazing, Amish farming by horse and hand, modern energy advancements in the form of a 30+ wind turbine farm, a 240 acre Oak savanna, a wetland boardwalk, the small village of McIntire, and the wide expanse of farmland being planted in May.
Awards given to the first three finishers in each gender in each race. Awards are not given out by age category. All Full and Half Marathon registrants who finish will receive a finishers award.
Location is a getaway, but not too far. Riceville, Iowa is one hour:
south of Rochester, MN
east of Mason City/Clear Lake, IA
west of Decorah, IA
And an early morning drive from:
the Twin Cities, MN (2 hrs south)
Des Moines, IA (3 hrs north)
Madison, WI (4 hrs west)
Lodging is ample and variety abounds. Riceville has four lodging establishments and a campground with 80 campsites, modern showers and bathroom facilities. Surrounding communities offer additional hotel options.
Historic Riceville Hotel
Lake Hendricks Campground
Rossiter Studio Inn: 641-220-2685
10th Hole Inn & Suites
Racers without lodging are welcome to use the Lake Hendricks showers following their race. They should contact the Howard County Conservation Board out of Cresco, Iowa to confirm camping and water access.
Why Iron Horse? The IronHorse represents the abandoned railway corridor preserved by the WGWL Trail as well as the industrial power and revolution the railroad brought to America. The railroad actually hauled iron ore in this area as well.
May you feel that frontier spirit as you “lap the miles and lick the valleys up . . . ” -Emily Dickenson’s The Railway Train
IronHorse proceeds directly impact nature preservation and restoration, trail maintenance and enhancements. Thank you.
This is a race. For the safety of all involved, no strollers and no dogs please. Registrations are final after April 1st - no refunds, deferrals or race exchanges. No club discounts after April 1st. Pacers are welcome, but must be a registered participant. Thank you.
T-shirts are an additional $16 (S, M, L, XL) and $21 (2XL & 3XL) available for purchase online through the IronHorse Store until April 15th. Pick-up of t-shirts must occur on race day between 7 A.M.-12 P.M. T-shirts not picked-up in-person on race day will not be mailed.
Note: All communications will be delivered by email to registered participants for security reasons. Additionally, to act our conservation mission, there will be no hard-copies of race information mailed to participants. The runner's information email will be sent to registered racers on April 2nd. To all those registering after that date, your runner information email will arrive on April 15th or April 30th depending on when you register. No t-shirt purchases or shuttle reservations will be taken after April 15th. Registrants from April 16-30th will need to provide themselves transportation to race start and from race finish. Registration closes for the Full and Half Marathon on April 30th. The 10K and 5K race does have same day registration.
COVID Additions (subject to change):
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, had direct contact with an individual diagnosed with or suspected to have COVID-19 in the last 10 days or are experiencing symptoms, YOU SHOULD NOT ATTEND the IronHorse Races.
Full Marathon and Half Marathon Registrants must declare if they wish to use the shuttle or arrive to the starting point by private vehicle (necessary for logistical planning). No shuttle option for those registering after April 15th. Because the IronHorse Full Marathon takes place in both Minnesota and Iowa, for all races we will follow the governor proclamations of both jurisdictions, using the most stringent safety measures of the two. The IronHorse will take place unless a governor or presidential order prohibits, which is beyond the race's control and no refunds will be given.
*Update as of March 20, 2023: Shuttling has been secured for racers who register prior to April 15th.
To handle the changing environment and for security, we send out all racer information by email 30 days out from race day (rest stops, refreshments offered, bib pick-up time/check-in, format of awards presentation, shuttles, etc.). The shuttle services are dependent upon the number of individuals choosing to arrive by private vehicles to the race start versus opting for the shuttle service as well as the level of physical distancing required to be within health recommendations and availability of buses. So shuttling information is also addressed in the racer email sent 30 days out.
Thank you for understanding the need to be agile to best accommodate whatever situation awaits us.
See all WGWL Trail events at WGWLTrail.com
Sweetheart Ski Saturday, Feb 18th - Free, no registration required
IronHorse Full Marathon, Half Marathon, Half Marathon Relay, 5K Saturday, May 6 - https://ironhorse.wgwltrail.com/
Border Bike Ride IA/MN Interstate Ride Saturday, July 15th https://borderbike.wgwltrail.com/
Wapsi Wiggle Training Half Marathon & 5K Saturday, August 5th https://runsignup.com/Race/IA/Riceville/Wapsi5K
DeRailed Adventure Multi-Sport Saturday, September 16th https://derailed.wgwltrail.com/
If you have any questions about this race, click the button below.
The greatest elevation change is a 50 foot gain over three miles that occurs around the marathon's half-way point.
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