Drake Half

Drake Road Races –  Half Marathon


The 2017 half marathon took place on Saturday, April 29. It was cloudy, with a feels like temp near 40 degrees. Race start was 7:30 am. There was a 5k that took place 15 minutes after. The events are part of the Drake Relays.

Looking for a “to the point review” go here

Josh and I were awake at 4 am Saturday and on the road with toast and coffee in tow. That’s right, we were driving the hour and a half to Des Moines on race day morning. Since we discovered that we could grab our packet the day of the race we skipped the expense of a hotel.


We made it to Des Moines in no time flat, at that hour of the morning, there is NO traffic. We also made it to a parking lot close to the finish line before they started charging the $10 daily fee. There was parking information provided through pre-race emails and on the website. Since this event takes place during the Drake Relays, parking is not free. HA! unless you get in the lot before they start charging, score 1 for the Berkas!

This location was also a short walk to the race day packet pickup. This was a no frills event. There was a big white tent set up in a parking lot. You walked in, either showed an email with your bib number or told them your name. No ID asked for. Then based on the shirt size indicated on your bib envelope, you grabbed the unisex (read – boxy) long sleeve, tech shirt. There was a shirt exchange somewhere…but I have so many shirts I don’t really care if another unflattering shirt fits anyway. After that, We were handed some white Asics tube socks. Nice to get something different, but no race logo or anything, just white tube socks – sexy!


The packet pickup took us a total of 5 minutes, so back to the car we went to keep warm. We were also parked near a bank of port-o-potties. Just after 7 am we thought we should get our crap together and walk the block or so to the start.

There were people buzzing about, however at the same time, unless you saw the start line, the morning was very relaxed, not that strange hustle and bustle of race morning. OR, maybe I have just done so many races (40 half marathons prior to this) that races don’t make me nervous.


There were no corrals, but there were pacers and participants were encouraged to line up according to that. There was some music and more announcements as there was some stalling before the National Anthem singer performed the song. A few minutes after 7:30 the race was on.

I really didn’t know what to expect from myself. I was one week out from a not -so-great marathon performance. I should have been taking things easy, but you know me, I love a good race and running. So – here I was.

Way back when, I ran this race when it offered a 6k. I only ran that distance at the time, instead of the half marathon, because at that time it was a week after the Blue Ridge Marathon. At that time the race was on a Sunday, and it ended on the Blue Oval in Drake Stadium.

I had checked out the elevation profile and knew there would be some climbs, while they were not super steep, they would still be hills. I was somewhat prepared. The first plan was to keep a slow steady start with a pace group (can’t remember if it was 2:20 or 2:30) I was only a half mile in when I felt they were running way too fast… however I managed to shake em and they were in the past…. I was then passing quite a few people.

By mile 2, I was hot… weird… it was maybe 40 degrees, but it was humid. I was down to a t-shirt. Then at mile 3, I needed to pee, TMI – I don’t care. I was back on the course and this is when we went downhill into some residential neighborhood. OK, who am I kidding the entire race was mostly in a residential neighborhood, never went near actual city parts of Des Moines.

I kept on going, at mile 9 I felt myself slowing a bit, but there was a hill… at the top of the hill was one of the 10 water stops (YES 10 water stops on a half marathon!) This is where I heard “Go Angie!” I looked back around and it was Mike, with the Rival Game Relay. I gave a wave. Then after grabbing a cup of water, I hear another “Go Angie!” It was IG friend @adkins_kl. I felt that extra umph, and I pushed on. It really is great to hear some words of encouragement on a course, no matter the distance, especially if it’s a surprise.

I remarked above, about all the water stops, and they were all in paper cups. However, there was no electrolyte drink on course and no food. There was a cool crew of bike marshals though, they had back baskets full of traveling aid including tissues and candy.


The last few miles seemed long. I managed to continue to thank the numerous volunteers and law enforcement officials on the course, but it seemed to go on forever. At mile 12, I had a new to me pain in my right hamstring. My leg was done! Thankfully, I turned the last corner and knew the finishing line was near.

I crossed the finish line, to my name being announced. I was handed a medal (it really is cooler if it gets placed around your neck) and then I had chance to grab a water bottle from a table and some random guy in the finisher’s chute wanted to shake my hand, so I did. I am not sure if if was the RD or who it was? Then at the end of the chute, I could grab a red Powerade. None of this aid was handed out. Now, I am not sure if I like the special little details, or I was just back of the pack and there were no volunteers handing stuff out anymore.

Josh caught up with me here, even snapping a really great picture… or not, lol.


Speaking of back of the pack… what was my time? Well, my Garmin was near 2:15, but remember I stopped to pee at mile 3, so my official time was near 2:17. I was really happy with this time. Considering my recent race schedule and despite the hamstring pain, I was feeling good!

We walked up into the post race area where there was food, free stretching and they were wrapping up the award announcements. Then some live music started as I walked through the food line where there was bananas, orange slices, apples and cookies.

mmmm cookies!

I really needed to roll out my hamstring, so I asked if Athletico had any rollers. They did not, but I signed up for them to stretch me out. After a short wait in line, it was my time. The lady said I had a huge knot in my hamstring…. duh, it hurts, lol.


Josh had went to some random building on campus for a post race shower, and I was freezing…so we went back to the car and I changed out of my running clothes. Who needs a shower when you are a #dirtbagrunner. It then started to rain. Yep,  beat the rain, now that would have been cold.

Located on the final stretch of the race course is the Drake Diner, of course this caught my eye as I was finishing. Josh and I walked here afterwards as we needed some HOT coffee.

There was a short wait, but we had a table and cinnamon roll to split as we sipped on coffee. Then our delicious breakfasts arrived and we devoured them. YUM!


It was already noon time and we needed to get back to the big city. We made a stop at our favorite coffee shop, Smokey Row, grabbed some more hot drinks and beans to brew at home, and we were back on the road home.

HOWEVER – we are not as young as we used to be. We only made it to Newton, like 45 ish minutes from Des Moines and we needed to stop and take a nap… LOL… yep, we pulled off at the truck stop and took a nap in the car. It was much needed.

After the refreshing nap, and a trip inside the truck stop for some Wint-o-green mints, we were back on the road again.


We made a pit stop at the Williamsburg outlets, then went to pick up our dogs. Just like that, the events of the day were over…. well we topped it off with dinner at the Hy-Vee salad bar – the best hidden gem for local craft beer on tap.


Would I run the Drake Relays Half again? Sure! It’s close to home and a decent price. I would suggest they move the race back to Sunday so we can finish on the blue oval.

What’s next? There is always something next for me….. Check my discount page for any savings too

May : Ganzo’s 5k, Red Shoe Half Marathon, Run Madtown 10k

June: possible Marathon to Marathon, Grandma’s Marathon, possible Run for Troops

July: B1G 10 10k

August: Madison Mini

October: Detroit Marathon

November: Madison Marathon

Some more races will pop up, but that is what’s on tap.

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