Ironman 70.3 Des Moines Race Report – John Urban

Race: Ironman 70.3 Des Moines

Runner: John Urban

Race Date: 06/11/2023

Location: Des Moines, IA

Results: 7:22:02

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  1. Race was very well-organized
  2. The swim course was in a unique “S” pattern
  3. The run course was scenic. It went along the river and around a lake before finishing downtown.

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

The bike course was not very scenic and any amount of wind can make it challenging

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

It was the second Ironman 70.3 in Des Moines after hosting a full Ironman last year.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

I had a solid swim. After a hard bike, I dug deep to finish the run.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

Train on hills for the bike and run. Prepare for warm weather.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I didn’t train on hills enough. I also didn’t do enough training for bike to run transition.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Iowa is not flat. The bike course is hilly.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

  • The run is scenic as you run by a river, by the minor league ballpark, around a lake and finish downtown Des Moines.
  • The bike course was not very scenic.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

  • The bike course was challenging.
  • The run course was good.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

The race is put on by the Ironman organization so it is very well run. There were over 600 volunteers who did a great job.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

I’m not sure if there were any pros at the race, but the age group fields were very competitive.

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

Register early for the best price. It is best to book your hotels early if you want to be near the finish line and athlete village. There is a Facebook group which really helps answer questions.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Aid stations are stocked with Gatorade, Red Bull, water, pretzels, fruit and gels.

Weather and typical race conditions

It can be hot in Des Moines in a June. There is not a lot of shade on the course. The bike is in the country so can be windy.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?

A wetsuit is helpful. The race was wetsuit legal this year.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

It is difficult to spectate on the bike course. The run course is very spectator friendly.

How’s the Swag?

I got a gear bag, shirt, finisher medal and finisher hat. The post-race food was really good.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

5/5. Highly recommend!