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IronHorse - USATF Certified & Sanctioned

Sat May 3, 2025 Riceville, IA 50466 US Directions


IronHorse Full Marathon (Half in MN and Half in IA) IA21004MF

$65 6:30AM CDT - 12:30PM CDT Price increases after January 28, 2025 at 11:59pm CST
Open to ages 18+.

IronHorse Half Marathon IA21003MF

$55 7:15AM CDT - 10:30AM CDT Price increases after January 28, 2025 at 11:59pm CST
Open to ages 10+.

IronHorse 10K

$25 7:30AM CDT - 8:45AM CDT Price increases after January 28, 2025 at 11:59pm CST

IronHorse 5K IA18005MF

$15 7:45AM CDT - 8:30AM CDT Price increases after January 28, 2025 at 11:59pm CST

Race Website

Additional race information can be found at


Wapsi-Great Western Line Welcome Center
110 East Main Street
Riceville, IA US 50466


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 in Iowa.  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 an out-n-back course on railroad level grades on a paved trail.  Full and Half Marathon runners will experience a point-to-point course through winding woodlands on a railroad level grade paved trail.  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.* 

Starting points:

  • Full Marathon starting point is the Shooting Star Trailhead in LeRoy, Minnesota. 
  • Half Marathon starting point is the Minnesota/Iowa stateline 
  • 10K and 5K starting point is the WGWL Trailhead in Riceville. 

Course types:

  • Full and Half Marathon courses are point-to-point.
  • 10K and 5K course is an out-n-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 (this is not a typical medal).  

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 a lodging establishment and a campground with 80 campsites, modern showers and bathroom facilities. Surrounding communities offer additional hotel options.

Lake Hendricks Campground
Lake Louise Campground
Mitchell County Campsites
Sweet's Hotel
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 IronHorse?  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 $17 (S, M, L, XL) and $22 (2XL & 3XL).  Long-sleeve shirts are an additional $23 (S, M, L, XL) and $27 (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.  They will come from: IronHorse Races - USATF Certified & Sanctioned <>.  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 11th.  Registrants after April 11th will need to provide themselves transportation to race start and from race finish.  Registration closes for the Full and Half Marathon on April 25th.  The 10K and 5K race does have same day registration.

Infectious Disease Precautions (subject to change):

If you have been diagnosed with COVID or another infectious disease or are experiencing symptoms, YOU SHOULD NOT ATTEND the IronHorse Races.  Simple rule: If you are unwell, stay home.

*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.).  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 11th.  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 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

Sweetheart Ski Saturday, Feb  - Free, no registration required

IronHorse Full Marathon, Half Marathon, Half Marathon Relay, 5K Saturday, May 3rd -

Wapsi Wiggle Training Half Marathon & 5K Saturday, August 5th

Border Bike Ride IA/MN Interstate Ride Saturday, Sept 14th

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