Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

- Top Three Frequently Asked Questions -

I'm injured and cannot run Dam to Dam, will there be a refund?
There are no refunds at Dam to Dam. Your entry fee will appropriately be used to maintain Iowa's Distance Classic. The volunteer race committee is committed to keeping this race non-profit, affordable and a joy for runners to run every year. While we understand that not all runners will be able to attend the race, your entry fee will be used effectively at future Dam to Dam races.

Can I give my race number and chip to another runner?
No, do not transfer race numbers.  Any runner with the wrong race number will be disqualified and runners involved will be asked to not participant again at Dam to Dam.  Changing race numbers can create unintended award and medical problems.  Additionally, bandits are not allowed in this race - permits, police fees, organizational costs, etc are reserved only for those who registered.

Can I change my race distance?
The only change possible is from the Half-Marathon to the 5K. This change can be done Friday, June 3rd at packet pickup. Absolutely no changing from the 5k to the Half-Marathon!


- General Race Information -

How do I register?
Half-Marathon and 5K registration opens at 6:00am on Wednesday, March 16, 2016. You may register online through Tuesday, May 31, or until the race is filled. No paper or mailed entries are accepted. NO REGISTRATION AT PACKET PICKUP.

Youth Run registration and number pickup is available during packet pickup, from 2:00pm to 8:00pm on Friday, June 3rd, at the Veteran's Memorial Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center. Registration is also available from 8:00am to 10:00am on Saturday, June 4th, at the finish area registration tent. Pre-registration is not accepted.

What are the entry fees?
- Half-Marathon -
The Half-Marathon race is limited to 9,000 runners. $40 entry fee for the first 5,000 runners, $45 entry fee for next 2,000 runners (5001-7000) and $50 entry the last 2,000 runners (7001-9000).

37th Dam to Dam runner shirt - Sign up in the first 37 days to guarantee your shirt size and a race bib personalized with your first name. After April 21st, shirt size not guaranteed.

- 5K -
The 5K race is limited to 3,000 runners. $25 entry fee for the first 2,000 runners, $30 entry fee for the last 1,000 runners (2001-3000).

37th Dam to Dam runner shirt - Sign up in the first 37 days to guarantee your shirt size and a race bib personalized with your first name. After April 21st, shirt size not guaranteed.

- Youth Runs -
The Dam to Dam youth runs are FREE and open to all kids, ages 1 to 12 years old.

Does Dam to Dam limit the number of runners in each race?
Yes, the Half-Marathon is capped at 9,000 runners and the 5K at 3,000 runners.

Are bikes, rollers blades or baby joggers allowed on the course?
Early starts, bikes, baby joggers, dogs, roller blades are NOT permitted. Headphones or electronic listening devices are permitted but discouraged for the safety of yourself and other runners.

What timing system is being use at Dam to Dam?
All runners will be provided a bib chip. Your race number will have a chip affixed to the back. You will be timed according to your chip or net time. Open and age division awards will be determined by gun time.

The bib chip cannot be folded, pinned or bent in anyway for it to record your time correctly - failure to wear the race number correctly will result in disqualification.


- Registration Questions -

What do I do if I cannot participate once I have registered?
No refunds on entry fees or transferring of race numbers. Runners not wearing the correct race number will be disqualified and not allowed to not enter Dam to Dam in the future.

How do I know if I am registered?
Runners will receive an e-mail upon completion of your on-line registration from The credit card used will also reflect your registration payment.

All entrants will receive an e-mail with final instructions and their assigned race number will be posted at on Thursday, June 2nd.

You should definitely receive confirmation from If you do not receive an e-mail or cannot find you name on the entrant list, come to the June 3rd packet pickup for corrections.

What is the deadline for registration?
Midnight on Thursday, May 26th, is the last date and time for entering Dam to Dam or when the limit of 9,000 Half-Marathon entries and 3,000 5K entries is reached.

How do I change race distances?
The only change possible is from the Half-Marathon to the 5K. This change can be done Friday, June 3rd at packet pickup.

Where does my registration fee go?
Your registration fees help pay for the necessary permits, police support, medical support, runners services, supplies and personnel to put on the race. Dam to Dam is a 501c(4) nonprofit organization and is directed entirely by volunteers. Dam to Dam has a long tradition of using registration fees to provide a great race at a reasonable cost.

9,000 limit for Half-Marathon and 3,000 limit for 5K - Why the limit?
Dam runners are the best! We just want to make sure everyone has a good run and a great day. All races have limits due to the start and finish area, course route, etc. Too many runners can lessen the running experience. Dam to Dam is no exception.

The Half-Marathon start area, Saylorville Dam, is a unique starting area and can handle only so many runners. Dam to Dam moves a small Iowa city 13.1 miles north of the finish and starts exactly at 7:00am. Thanks to you, it works!

The 5K start area is limited as well. The 5K started in 1995 with just a few hundred runners. It now fills the streets.

The finish area at the Western Gateway Park is the perfect ending for all to relax and enjoy the sun. While Dam to Dam is expanding the area to the maximum, it's only comfortable for 20,000 runners, spectators and family members.

Dam to Dam is operated entirely by a volunteer race committee and race director - YIKES! That is hard to believe. A limit to the number of runners insures many years of success.


- Packet Pickup -

Where and when is packet pickup?
Friday, June 3rd at the Veteran's Memorial Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center from 2:00pm to 8:00pm. There is no packet pickup for the Half-Marathon on race day. A very limited 5K only packet pickup is available Saturday, June 4th from 8:00am to 9:00am at finish area packet pick-up tent.

How can I find my race number assignment prior to packet pickup?
All race numbers will be posted at on Thursday, June 2nd. If you cannot find your name on the entrant list, come to the June 3rd packet pickup for corrections.

Can someone else pickup my packet?
Yes, make sure whomever picks up your packet has your permission to pick up your packet. No packets will be mailed prior to or after the race.


- Race Day Information -

Where should I park on race day?
Half-Marathon parking is available on the street and in parking garages near the bus transportation.

5K parking is available on the street and in parking garages. Convenient parking is available north of the start area to avoid the Half-Marathon course and runner congestion.

What is the start time and location?
Half-Marathon starts at 7:00am in the middle of Saylorville Dam, north of Des Moines. The Dam and roads leading to the Dam are closed to traffic at 5:30am. To avoid congestion and parking difficulties, runners must take a bus to the Dam. Buses leave from Nationwide Insurance - 11th & Locust Street, to Saylorville Dam from 5:00am to 5:45am. Buses leave from Merle Hay Mall, Valley West Mall and DMACC Ankeny Campus to Saylorville Dam from 5:30am to 6:00am. Bus transportation is one-way only - buses will not return to the pick-up locations after the race.

5K starts at 9:30am at 10th & Locust.

Youth runs start at 10:40am west of the finish line.

Is there gear bag check-in for the Half-Marathon
Please take note that Dam to Dam can no longer be responsible for personal items you bring to the race. Therefore, beginning this year, we will not provide the bag drop service from the start line to the finish line as has been done in the past. Please do not bring any personal belongings to the race which need to be transported to the finish line. Any belongings left at the starting line or along the race route will be donated to charity.

Are there portable bathrooms near the Half-Marathon and 5K start?
Half-Marathon has over 140 portable bathrooms west of the start area. 5K has over 40 portable bathrooms west of the start area, on 12th Street, south of Locust.

Is there a course time limit?
Yes - runners must complete the Half-Marathon course in 3 hours 15 minutes and the 5K course in 1 hour. The Half-Marathon, 5K and Youth Runs all end at the same location, 13th & Grand. It is important that everyone honors the time limits. In order to comply with city and county permits, streets crossing the route must be reopened to vehicle traffic after the time limits.

How can I reunite with family, friends and other runners at the end of the Half-Marathon?
The easiest way to find your family and friends after the race is to have a plan beforehand.

Half-Marathon runners after finishing will be directed around the Pappajohn Center, clockwise to receive their finisher medal, water, sports drink and clothing bag.


- Post-Race Information -

How will I receive my Half-Marathon finishers medal?
You must finish under 3 hours 15 minutes. Your medal will be presented to you after crossing the finish line.

If I won a age division award, how do I get it?
Half-Marathon and 5K Age division awards will be available at the race site awards tent - 13th & Grand, west of the Pappajohn Center. Half-Marathon awards will be available starting at 9:00am and 5K awards will be available starting at 10:30am.

How will I find my official time?
Results will posted on the west side of the Pappajohn Center. Full results will be available by 5:00pm, Saturday, June 4th, at

What will be the date of Dam to Dam in 2017?
Dam to Dam is traditionally the Saturday after Memorial Day. In 2017, it will be June 3rd. Registration will begin mid-March 2017.


We would like to thank our primary race sponsor, Nationwide Insurance. This event is possible because of their continuing support and dedication.