3 Reasons You Should Run the Hot Chocolate 15k 5k
Running and chocolate – what could be better? If that sounds like an appealing combination then you should check out the Hot Chocolate 15k 5k in Minneapolis on April 16. Runners get a variety of chocolate goodies (both in liquid and solid forms) on the course, and it’s even gluten-free. The event was started by RAM Racing, a race-management outfit based in Chicago, and is now at 22 locations and counting. Below are three reasons why you should run the Hot Chocolate 15k or 5k – and some helpful tips to know if you decide to go.
1. The race Swag is Awesome
The Hot Chocolate race series is renowned for its goodie bags – and for good reason. Everyone gets a luxurious full-zip jacket with the race logo embroidered on it. This year’s jackets are gray; the women’s version features teal piping, while the men’s version has orange piping. And if your jacket doesn’t fit right you can exchange it for another size for free. Runners also receive a reusable drawstring bag.
2. It’s not like Other Themed Races
There are themed races in the Twin Cities area practically every weekend, but most put more emphasis on the party than the race – not so with the Hot Chocolate 15k 5k races. There’s a nice mix of runners looking for an early season tune-up for a spring marathon, and runners who are looking for a fun time and some chocolate goodies along the course.
3. The course is Fantastic!
After starting in Boom Island Park, runners head north up East River Road, across the 42nd Avenue bridge, and down the west bank of the river before crossing back over to the park for the finish. The river road is a mainstay for several races, including the Twin Cities Marathon, but most courses stay farther south. Not only that, but how often do you get to run a 15k (9.3 miles)? It’s a perfect distance to prepare for a half marathon or marathon, and if you’ve never done one before, it’s an automatic PR!
Not convinced yet?
I talked with fellow runner, Angela Giese, who ran it last year. Below is a snippet of what she had to say about the race:
My favorite part about the race was the swag (I’ll get back to that), and the atmosphere. I’m not usually much into novelty races, but this one was fun. I think the best part about it was that there was a good mix of people doing the race competitively and people doing it for fun. I was also quite impressed with the goodies at the end. We were worried that all the 5K runners were going to eat everything up, but it was divided out equally among all runners. Each city has its own medal with a design that incorporates special things from that area. Last year, ours was a slightly unwrapped chocolate bar with the Minneapolis skyline, an evergreen tree, and a gopher on it.
Things to Know about the 2016 Hot Chocolate 15k 5k
If you’ve already signed up, here are a few tips to help you have a smooth and enjoyable race day experience.
Starting Corrals are Strictly Managed
Many shorter races let participants use their best guess at race pace and common sense to seed themselves in the starting corral, but the Hot Chocolate 15k 5k is the exception. If you’ve run a race in the last two years with an average pace per mile of 11:30 or faster you are eligible for a preferred corral if you submit relevant race results with your registration. As with most races, if you’re planning to run with someone who was assigned to a different coral than you were, you can move to a slower corral but are not permitted to move up to a faster corral.
Parking is Scarce at the Start/Finish Area
Parking is extremely limited near Boom Island Park, and in an effort to be courteous to nearby residents, parking on side streets is strongly discouraged. The event website suggests runners park in a ramp downtown Minneapolis and walk approximately a mile to the start/finish area, but note that shuttles are not provided. Carpooling is encouraged, and there will also be a secure bike parking area at Boom Island Park.
Want to save some hassle on race morning? Pick up your race packet on Thursday or Friday at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis – a super convenient location if you work downtown. If you’re coming from a little further out or just not sure if you will be able to make it? You can also opt to have your race packet and goody bag mailed to you.
Have you run the Hot Chocolate 15k 5k race(s) in the past? What did you think? Share below.