I signed up for the Hot Chocolate 15k this spring with the intention of trying out a race that had a more fun slant than a normal race and a 15k is an unusual enough distance. Why not? You can't go wrong with anything with a theme of chocolate.
Training: I was training already for the Air Force 10k in Dayton when I started getting regular emails from the Hot Chocolate 15k race. They had a 12 week training plan for free that participants could use. I thought it looked a little tough for beginner runners. The 1st week had you run 90 mins for a long run. If I had done that it would have been about 11 miles for me. I think they should have a just finish it plan as an option.
Expo: The expo was at Columbus Convention center which happened to be next to the race hotel. I was able to stay inside the hotel/convo center and walk to the expo. I had to ask directions to get there since there weren't a lot of signs for it. When I walked in to expo, all the bib pick up and swag were along the walls. The bib pick up had numerous people working and they only needed your QR code that was emailed before the race. There was some confusion, mostly people stopping in front of the pickup to get their QR code on their phone, then others thinking it was a line. Once you had that, they picked the next bib in their pile and scanned your QR code and then printed a sticker with your info and corral. I'm surprised not more races do this. It saves organizing the bibs by number/alphabetical order. My number was super high too, so I wonder if they pre print all the bibs for the whole series.
The swag bag was simple to pick up. They asked that if you wanted to try on your 3/4 zip jacket/shirt that you do it where they had samples already so that you didn't need to open your package. I tried on a medium and it seemed a little on the big side. (fine by me) so I kept the size. When I went back to the hotel my 3/4 zip was a bit smaller than I tried on. I probably would have gone up a size if i had known. Oh well. It still fits, just not as flattering.
Race morning was perfect for a long run. 60 degrees with a slight drizzle. I wore a tank and shorts (in November!!!) The walk from the hotel was nice, I ran into a few people, one who was doing it for the 5th year in a row. He just raved about how much he loved this race. (I ended up finishing right next to him in the free pictures that I got!)
The park was all set up for the finish and everything was nicely labeled including gear check next to the start line. I didn't use it since it was so mild outside but if it had been cold I would have! Corrals were labeled and there were plenty of porta potties. I ran into Matt one of the other bib rave pros from Akron area. We listened to the announcer talk to a few different families about how Make A Wish helped them. Hot Chocolate has them as their sponsored charity. The waves started 3 minutes apart so there was no over crowding in the first mile. I felt that I got into my groove pretty quickly. The course was pretty unremarkable. You go though downtown then head up High St around OSU campus then back. My only complaint was they needed more water stops. It was warmer than expected and I felt that every mile or 2miles there should have been a stop, but it was more like every 3miles. Some of the water stops had chocolate, especially the last one. I didn't stop for that but did get water and nuun.
enjoy the hot chocolate. They did have a bag table were you could get a plastic bag to but your mug after you were done. I ended up putting my mug in there with intentions to eat it when I got back to the hotel. The end area also had a chance to buy more Hot Chocolate swag. They also had the Make A Wish photo option. you got your picture taken a $10 donation. The volunteer explained it was free and that they would donate, but later I got an email thanking me for donating and I should expect to see a charge on my Visa for it. I don't mind donating but I think the volunteer didn't quite explain it as well as it should have been.
|That was the guy I talked to before the race!|
Later in the day, I got an email with links to my free pictures.
That is a very nice touch.
Overall: It was a cute race. If there was one in my city, I'd do it with my boys. I'm not sure I'd travel to a race like this again though. I tend to keep my travel budget pretty tight and only for major races (i.e. marathons). It was well organized and if you want to do a fun race (there was a 5k option, too) then try it out. I mean, the swag is pretty nice. I've worn my 3/4 zip a few times (in the last week). I've heard others do it for the swag too.