Why you Should Run The 2016 Chocoholic Frolic St. Paul
If you love running and chocolate, then you’ll love the Chocoholic Frolic in St. Paul on October 2. If you’re bored of the energy gels that most races serve at water stops, you’ll enjoy the delectable little chocolate candies they will feed you here. Like an Oompa Loompa on holiday, you’ll scamper from station to station, trying to finish as quickly as possible for the deliciousness of chocolate festivities that await you back at the finish line.Register for Chocoholic Frolic!
Four years ago, Final Stretch President Mark Bongers decided to combine two things he loved: running and chocolate. “I love to run, I love to eat chocolate…I run so I can eat chocolate! It was a joke we always had, but the race was born from that. We kept talking and joking about it, but felt others would like it as well.”
The race has more than doubled since we first wrote about it in 2013, and this year they expect nearly 5,000 runners. Bongers says it’s a “…fun race that blends the idea of something healthy with something many of us have a vice for…it’s a calorie neutral event!”
And while you’ll receive chocolate at every water stop, and get to indulge with melted chocolate with all sorts of dipping stuff (oreos, nilla wafers, pretzels, etc) at the finish line, the event is really more about getting people active and supporting a great cause. This year, that cause is The Special Olympics Minnesota (SOMN).
A Special Partnership
As the 2016 Olympics get underway in Rio, it’s timely to pause and recognize the place of the Special Olympics. It’s goal is relatively simple: to create “a new world of inclusion and community, a world in which every single person is accepted and welcomed regardless of ability or disability. We are helping to make the world a better, healthier and more joyful place—one athlete, one volunteer, one family member at a time.”
Did you know there are over 8,100 Special Olympics Athletes in Minnesota? According to Maureen Gruys, Special Olympics Minnesota Partnerships Coordinator, “SOMN offers children and adults with intellectual disabilities year-round sports training and competition. Through Special Olympics’ athletic, health and leadership programs, people with intellectual disabilities transform themselves, their communities and the world.”
Final Stretch is all about finding partnerships that do good in the communities they represent. Although they are a for-profit company, building up their community is a driving value. Bongers says, “We always like to line up a charity for our events. A lot of our races are in smaller communities. We try to give something back to our communities, and have a charity involved with our bigger races.”
When you register, you can donate an amount above and beyond the percentage already going to SOMN. Additionally, if you use the code CHOCOLYMPICS, you’ll get $5 off your registration AND give an additional $5 to SOMN – that’s sweeter than the chocolate!
The money donated to SOMN supports their programs such as Young Athletes, Unified Sports, Healthy Athletes, and an Athlete Leadership Program, which helps give athletes an opportunity to grow in their leadership abilities as they get more involved in the organization.
If you’re not running, Gruys would love to encourage you to sign up to volunteer for the Chocoholic Frolic on their website: specialolympicsminnesota.org/volunteers.
The Main Event (Or Should We Say Dessert?)
At the Chocoholic Frolic St Paul, you won’t necessarily find the speedsters of the Twin Cities running scene. There are faster runners for sure, but for the most part, this event caters to newer runners, or those perhaps participating in their very first race of any distance.
Because of this, the course is beautiful and relatively easy.
Both the 5k and 10k start on Harriet Island in St. Paul and head SW to Water Street which runs along the Mississippi River. Those running the 10k get an extra treat after the 5K turnaround point where the course heads onto newly formed trails that meander through Lilydale/Harriet Regional Park. If you’ve never been back there, it’s spectacular! You’ll face a couple small hills, but nothing to get too worried about.
Events are chip timed, and they have awards in each age category based on finishing time, as well as some tasty door prizes. In lieu of medals, all finishers receive a high-end fancy chocolate bar from Vandewalles chocolate, talk about a sweet finish! And don’t forget to bring the kids, too who can run a 1K race! Each kid will get a race shirt, tote, and a finisher cookie.
Do You Frolic with Chocolate?
Have you run the Chocoholic Frolic before? What did you think? Share below.Register TODAY for Chocoholic Frolic!