Race Information


The race is full – 9,000 runners entered by 12:52 pm on March 14th.

You may use the links below to Confirm your registration.

39th Dam to Dam Shirt & Personalized Race Bib

Everyone who signed up on March 14th is guaranteed their shirt size and a race bib personalized with their first name.

Registration Cutoff

The race is full – 9,000 runners entered by 12:52 pm on March 14th.

Age Requirements

Race entrants must be at least 12 years old. 12 & 13 year old entrants must run with a parent.

Refunds & Transfers

There are no refunds at Dam to Dam, a non-profit race run strictly by volunteers. As this is the last Dam to Dam, leftover monies will be distributed in the coming years to charitable groups that support running in the Des Moines area.  Thank you for your contribution.

Online transfer of race numbers ended May 28.  You can still transfer at packet pickup, June 1.  See the transferring race entry page for more details.

A reminder – runners not wearing the correct race number will be disqualified.  Transferring an entry is easy and is the best way to ensure we have accurate info for each runner on race day.

Packet Pickup

Race packets will be available 2:00pm to 8:00pm on Friday, June 1st at the Veteran’s Memorial Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center. No packets will be mailed or available on race day. Race entrants can find their race number on this site beginning at noon on Thursday, May 31st.

Refreshments and entertainment will greet you at packet pickup.  Ten $100 Fitness Sports door prizes to be given out at packet pickup, two every hour on the hour.

Where to Park

The best downtown parking for runners on race day is in the Center Street Park and Ride.  A special rate of $5 (cash only) is in place for the event.  Parking is also available in the Principal surface parking lots to the west of the Park and Ride.  These lots are located from Crocker Street south to Park Street, and from 7th Street west to 9th Street.  See the parking map for more info.

For family and friends that are wondering where to park to support their favorite runner, a new option is available this year!  Shuttles will be running from the Iowa State Capitol complex via the downtown D-Line (operated by DART).  Click here for all the details.  Note – shuttles do not operate early enough for Dam to Dam runners.

Buses – The ONLY Way to Get to the Dam

The race starts at 7:00am on 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.

Bus service is from 3 sites in 2018 – no buses at Valley West Mall. Bus departure locations and times for each are listed below.  Each runner must show their 39th Dam to Dam race bib to board a bus.  Transportation is only available to Saylorville Dam prior to the race – no return transportation available to any start location.

Buses will leave from:

– Downtown – (5:00am to 5:45am) Bus pickup on 6th Avenue, from Crocker to Center Street, east side of the Park and Ride.

– Merle Hay Mall – (5:00am to 6:00am) Park on north side of mall, in the lot area north of the parking ramp.

– DMACC Ankeny campus – (5:00am to 6:00am) Park in Lot L-5 only, enter off of Oralabor Road.

No cars may be left at Saylorville Dam area.

Start Area

The start area is a very narrow, 2 lane road on Saylorville Dam with guard rails. At the start, you will be required to line up according to your pace. Please be fair. Faster runners, less than 7 minutes per mile pace or potential age division winners, line up in the front of the start area. Runners with a pace over 10 minute per mile line up at the back of the start area.

There are over 140 portable bathrooms and water available west of the start area. Clothing bags are not allowed on Saylorville Dam. It is advised you bring your own water to the start.

Chip Timing – Awards Determined by Gun Time

All runners will be provided a race number.  Please attach with 4 pins to the front of your apparel. 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.

Start – No Early Starts

The race starts at 7:00am on 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 the bus to the Dam.

All entrants must start with the gun at 7:00am. Failure to do so will result in disqualification.


Please take note that Dam to Dam can no longer be responsible for personal items you bring to the race. Therefore, 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.

Route – Course open until 11:00am

The race is a point-to-point USA Track & Field certified distance. The start is on Saylorville Dam, where runners can see downtown Des Moines on the horizon. The 12.4 mile (20K) journey takes runners through Iowa’s countryside and Des Moines neighborhoods to the finish at Cowles Commons, 3rd & Locust. All miles are marked. Water stations are provided at least every 2 miles with medical support at the last water stations. The course is traffic-controlled and is timed until 11:00am.

Early starts, bikes, baby joggers, dogs and roller blades ARE NOT permitted. Headphones or electronic listening devices are permitted but discouraged for your safety and the safety of other runners.

Course Map

2018 Water Stations

1 Principal Financial Group (2.5 miles)

2 Nationwide Insurance (3.75 miles)

3 NCMIC (5.5 miles)

4 Katie’s Crusaders (7.0 miles)

5 Oak Park Neighbors (8.25 miles)

6 Polk County Employees (9.25 miles)

7 UnityPoint Health (11.0 miles)

8 Nationwide Insurance (11.75 miles)

9 Team RWB/Sogeti USA (Finish line)

Finish Area

The race finishes at Cowles Commons, 3rd & Locust, in downtown Des Moines.

A special Dam to Dam medal will be presented to each finisher, until 11:00am, immediately after crossing the finish line area.

Water and refreshments will be available near the finish line. Finishers must show their race number and be prepared to show a photo ID for alcoholic beverages.

Portable bathrooms are available.

Results will posted on the west side of Cowles Commons area.

Awards Ceremony & Results

Awards will be presented at 9:45am near the finish area. Top male and female winners will be announced to the crowd and receive a trophy.  Age division awards will be available at the awards/information tent, west side of Cowles Common, beginning at 9:00am.

Results will be posted near the finish line.  Full results will be available by 5:00pm, Saturday, June 2nd, at www.damtodam.com.

Cash Prizes


1st – $2,000, 2nd – $1,000, 3rd – $800, 4th – $700, 5th – $600, 6th – $500, 7th – $400, 8th – $300, 9th – $250, 10th – $200. Master Runners 1st – $300, 2nd – $150. Prize money for US citizens only or Iowa runners.

Time Bonus

$2500 maximum is reserved for outstanding performances and/or potentially open runners in 11th-13th not receiving cash awards.  Race officials will make the determination post-race on any additional awards.

Age Division Awards

Runners receiving cash awards are eligible for Brooks – Dam to Dam long sleeve technical shirts.

Invited and Competitive Runners Info

Age Group Awards – Determined by Gun Time

Age group awards are as follows for both Male and Female: 16 & under (top 1), 17 to 19 (top 3), 20 to 24 (top 6), 25 to 29 (top 6), 30 to 34 (top 6), 35 to 39 (top 6), 40 to 44 (top 6), 45 to 49 (top 4), 50 to 54 (top 4), 55 to 59 (top 2), 60 to 64 (top 1), 65 to 69 (top 1) and 70 & over (top 1). Wheelchair awards are top 1 for both Male and Female. Up to 10 additional awards will be presented to top age division winners at the discretion of race officials.


Photos from Jolesch Enterprises will be e-mailed to you after the race.