Experience the Adventure

 Race – 10/14/18

Please join us for the 4th annual Above + Beyond Adventure Tri! The race takes place at Water Works Park, in the heart of downtown Des Moines. This year, adult teams and youths partnered with an adult team, will compete Sunday, October 14. Their challenge is the Above + Beyond Adventure Tri, consisting of three events: canoeing, road cycling and trail running. The event benefits Above + Beyond Cancer, a public charity with a mission to elevate the lives of those touched by cancer, and to create a healthier world. The Above + Beyond Adventure Tri is among the longest races that takes place inside of a single park within the United States. We hope to see you in the race or cheering on the athletes!




The Adventure Tri begins at 8:30 AM in the fast-moving water of the Raccoon River, at the west end of Waterworks Park. Entering from the bank, each team will paddle their canoe (canoes, paddle, & life jackets are provided) two miles downstream towards the Bill Riley Trail Bridge.

Navigating tricky sandbars and swift currents while avoiding snags and capsizes, a total of 6 bends await each team. After passing under the rustic pedestrian bridge, the take-out point is only a slight bend away. Paddlers will pull out sharply onto the south bank (right side), and begin the second section of the race.



Road Cycling

Once a team makes it ashore successfully, they will begin the cycling portion of the race, completed on smoothly paved roads. Competitors will race road bikes around the inside of the western half of Water Works Park, following along the Raccoon River before looping through the broad green fields and wooded sections of the public park.

The route returns back to the entry of the figure 8 loop, where competitors will begin a second lap. After completing a second lap, bikers will dismount in transition and begin the run portion of the adventure.



Trail Running

The third leg is the trail running portion of the race. Their route begins by backtracking along the south bank of the Raccoon River along Grays Lake Drive. A sharp right brings the runners across the Bill Riley Trail Bridge. Another right turn after crossing over the footbridge leads them onto the equestrian trails.

A total of three miles of scenic, wooded trail running awaits each competitor. This section concludes once the route loops back across the bridge where racers will cross the finish line near the waters edge for a total of 3 miles of running, and an overall race total of 14 miles.



Additional questions can be answered on our Facebook page, or directly though email.

Q: How does the “team aspect” work?

A: Teammates must stick together! Teams must start and finish each transition together. Teammates must stay within 100′ of each other. Teammates should work together to push one another for the best time possible. Teams will officially ‘finish’ the race once both competitors have crossed the finish line.

Q: Can teams bring their own canoe?

A: Yes! During registration teams can opt to bring their own canoe. Otherwise, aluminum canoes will be provided, courtesy of Argo Adventures.

Q: How long will this thing take?

A: As long as you make it! Depending on your abilities, this race can last anywhere between 2-4 hours!

Q: Where is my money going?

A: Good question, glad you asked! Proceeds from DSM Adventure Race go to Above + Beyond Cancer, a Des Moines based non-profit devoted to inspiring healthy living, with weekly cancer survivorship programs.  These programs allow survivors to recover and redefine a life they may had not thought possible.  A+BC also leads cancer survivors on challenging adventures. It’s an incredible organization, really, we encourage you to check them out!

Q: Do I need to fill out a “proxy form” for each person I pick up for, even if we register as a team?

A: Yes!

Q: Where can I find the “Proxy” form?

A: Right here

Q: Can I pick up someone’s packet?

A: Yes, have their ID with you and the completed proxy form



2-5 PM
REI Packet Pick Up


6:45-7:45 AM
Packet Pick Up + Race Day Registration
7:00 AM
Transition Open for 2 Person Teams
8:00 AM
Youth Race Shuttles Leave For Start
8:30 AM
Youth Race Starts
9:30 AM
Adult Wave 1 Shuttles Leave For Start
10:00 AM
Adult Wave 1 Starts
10:30 AM
Youth Award Ceremony
10:45 AM
Adult Wave 2 Shuttles Leave For Start
11:15 AM
Adult Wave 2 Starts
11:45 AM
Adult Wave 3 Shuttles Leave for Start
12:15 PM
Adult Wave 3 Starts


Teams will begin the race with a 2 mile paddle downstream. Each team may bring and use their own canoe, however there will be aluminum canoes available for teams to use. Life jackets must be worn at all times during the canoe section of the race.


Competitors will ride their own road bikes 9 miles through the inner roads of Water Works Park in the second leg of the DSM Adventure Race. The hourglass shaped route will be ridden for 2 laps before continuing along it for another half-mile until the transitioning for the train run portion.


After transitioning off the bike, competitors will complete a 3 mile run. The trail follows a mixture of equestrian trails, bike path, and walking paths. The route crosses the Bill Riley Trail Bridge and returns to cross the finish line.



To the wonderful organizations that make this event possible: Thank you!

Foster Group logo

  • Steve and Cathy Lacy
  • Greg and Andrea Abel
  • Graham Construction
  • American Equity

Become A Volunteer

Above and Beyond Cancer seeks volunteers who are open to our mission, appreciate the outdoors, and helping others. If you want to wear a smile, have some fun, and maybe get a little dirty, then register to volunteer today!