Fitness Sports

Race Results


USATF Event Licence ID: #137247

The IronHorse Races include a Full Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K Run. 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 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 runners will experience railroad level grades on a paved trail.  Full and Half runners will experience winding woodlands and railroad level grades on a paved trail.  Full marathon runners will also experience a four-mile section on crushed rock.

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 5K start, it is the WGWL Trailhead in Riceville.  Full and Half Marathon courses are point-to-point. 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
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 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 or race exchanges.  No club discounts after April 15th.  Pacers are welcome, but must be a registered participant. Thank you.

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 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 14 days or are experiencing symptoms, YOU SHOULD NOT ATTEND the IronHorse Races.

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.  Registrants who do not feel comfortable due to current infection rate numbers will not be given a refund, but will have the option to transfer their registration to a virtual race.  Virtual races are not USATF Certified nor are Boston Qualifying.  Virtual runners receive a t-shirt only if they choose to purchase.

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.  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 next May.

See all WGWL Trail events at

Sweetheart Ski Saturday, Feb 12th – Free, no registration required

IronHorse Full Marathon, Half Marathon, Half Marathon Relay, 5K Saturday, May 7 –

Wapsi Wiggle Training Half Marathon & 5K Saturday, August 6

Border Bike Ride IA/MN Interstate Ride Saturday, August 27

DeRailed Adventure Multi-Sport Saturday, September 24


Event Type

Event Organizer


Race Website

Related Events

Ugly Christmas Sweater Fun Run/Walk
Road Race
Date: December 14, 2024
Des Moines Turkey Trot
Road Race
Date: November 28, 2024
Madison Marathon
Road Race
Date: November 10, 2024
IMT Des Moines Marathon
Date: October 20, 2024
Road Race
Date: October 13, 2024
Road Race
Date: September 28, 2024
Fieldhouse Fun Run
Date: September 28, 2024
Off the Beaten Path Trail Run
Trail Race
Date: September 21, 2024
Run For Pie 5K
Road Race
Date: September 21, 2024
Blood, Sweat & Beers 5k
Road Race
Date: September 14, 2024
Lincoln Highway Days Dash 5k
Road Race
Date: August 24, 2024
Nevada XC Alumni Run
Trail Race
Date: August 10, 2024
Iowa National Guard Trench Run
Trail Race
Date: August 9, 2024
Fifth Seasons Races (8k/5k)
Road Race
Date: July 4, 2024
Story County Freedom Run 5k/10k
Iowa Cross Country
Date: June 22, 2024