The IronHorse is a Half-Marathon, 10K and 5K race that takes place on the Wapsi-Great Western Line (WGWL) Trail located in Riceville, Iowa. The WGWL Trail has a Northern Branch and a Southern Branch. The race takes place on the Rails-to-Trails recognized WGWL’s paved and concrete laid Northern Branch. The Northern Branch is the official interstate trail connecting to Minnesota’s Shooting Star Trail. The WGWL Trail is the first connecting recreational trail between the Hawkeye and North Star states.
Safety is paramount. The race is located on a dedicated recreational trail. Shuttles provide racers transportation to the starting points (Half and 10K). Aid stations and port-a-potties are located along the race route. The finish 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.
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)
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. May you feel that frontier spirit as you “lap the miles and lick the valleys up . . . ” -Emily Dickenson
This is a fundraiser for continued trail maintenance.
For those runners eager to experience the Southern Branch of the WGWL Trail, the Grand Opening of this trail portion is following the IronHorse Half on May 5th from noon-4 p.m. The Grand Opening will have multiple points of interest and entertainment. See the WGWL Trail events page for more details.