Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hot Chocolate 15k Race Review

Sunday: 9 miles
Monday: Arms & stretching 

Sunday morning I ran the 15k of the Hot Chocolate Race Series in Seattle, Washington.
Finishers mug
The expo took place in the Seattle Center. I was a little let down, there were only about 4 booths with products for runners to try/buy. I was hoping that they would have some energy gels or chew samples but perhaps the race was too short of a distance to require those types of samples. I did enjoy the small cups of hot chocolate and marshmallows drenched in melted chocolate--that was pretty awesome. They also gave out small chocolate squares to all participants who walked by their booth. We grabbed our bibs and head over to another station to claim our bag of goodies. Our bag had our race sweatshirt and a travel mug (if you entered a special promo code at registration). I did like that there were stations where you could trade in your sweatshirt for another size--they had a lot of additional sizes to offer. I always hate it when you order a shirt, it doesn't fit and they run out of the size you need and want to exchange for. So that was nice that they had a large quantity of various sizes. I expected the expo to be a bit bigger due to it's popularity of the race itself but it was pretty simple and labeled well so that you knew where to go.

The race itself went really well. The race team advised that all participants arrive an hour prior to their event start time. I thought this was a bit excessive, however, it is a good recommendation for those who have never ran a race before. As far as the route, I actually never previewed the route prior to running it (which I almost always do) so I didn't know what to expect when we got there. The route began outside the armory and we head down toward the waterfront. The first half of the race was scenic and enjoyable to run through. We ran over a bridge (with a great view of the city) and through a giant tunnel which was actually pretty fun. I felt like we were running through the night and that there were spot lights on us. The second half of the race was through an industrial area (I wish I had paid attention to the road names). We ran pretty far out (about 3 miles) in this industrial area, then had a turn around and were on our way back toward Mercer, and toward the Armory for the finish line (same as the start line). The course wasn't incredibly hilly but there was a lot of gradual incline that I felt throughout the race. 
(Wish I had captured photos of the course!)

Overall, I felt that the race was really well organized! There were a ton of volunteers--all incredibly helpful and great little cheerleaders. The roads were blocked off properly and they had timed the race really well--5k had an hour to finish, then it was the 15k start. The race was really large as well. There were participants for miles--as far as you could see ahead of you while running. I did alright. My friend Sarah and I both hadn't logged longer distance miles in awhile so we went into the race with the mentality of it just being FUN. We didn't stress about time and just enjoyed every second of being in a new city to run together. We ended up with a 9 min/40 sec pace per mile (which we figured we would get) that is a few seconds slower than our general easy run pace. We finished together and immediately head toward our giant mug of chocolately goodness (see top photo above)! 

Another race down and a fun adventure weekend in Seattle. For anyone interested in a fun run, this was pretty fun! It wasn't incredibly entertaining throughout the course or even at the finish line but running toward chocolate was a nice incentive to run for. There weren't any medals at the finish line, your race day goodie for finishing was your official hot chocolate race sweatshirt that you pick up at the day of the expo. 

From The Hot Chocolate 15k website--(poor photo quality, sorry guys!)


  1. So glad you had a great race and a fun weekend in Seattle. Hope you went to Pike's fish market!! Great pics too btw...

  2. Our Hot Choc. 15/5k was in October and I can't remember if there even was an expo. The race was super fun and the chocolate at the end def. makes it worth it. Great pictures!

  3. Thank you all! Sami--the expo really didn't have much to it. I also somehow forgot to mention that they gave out chocolate at mile 6! That was fun:)

  4. Great recap-sounds fun! I'm running the Philly one in April and can't wait for the chocolate!