Sweetest Race in the Desert: Hot Chocolate 15K Phoenix Race Review
From the expo to the flat course, the swag to the chocolate... why the Hot Chocolate 15K& 5K is truly the sweetest race in the desert!
|At the expo with Zucchini Runner|
The expo was great! It was held at the same area where we would be starting, so it was nice to get an idea of where parking was located, my route to the race, etc. all while attending the expo.
One of the reasons the Hot Chocolate 15k&5K is so popular, is the swag! Each year is a little different. But this time around we received full-zip, fleece-lined hoodies (green for guys, pink for the ladies). And the BEST part? You actually we encouraged to try on the sizes at a separate location BEFORE picking yours up, so you could be assured you were receiving the best fit. That truly stands out to me. The majority of expos I've attended, workers tell you that you have to wait until after the race to exchange your shirt for a different size.
Besides the hoodies, I also took advantage of the great sales! I splurged and bought a new pair of shoes. $15 off! Already loving them.
THE RACEParking was a little hectic, but fortunately I knew where to go and avoid the busiest traffic thanks to my trip to the expo beforehand. In the race's defense, they DID encourage runners to arrive early to account for traffic b/c of road closures. I don't think runners headed their warning.
It was chilly at the start, but as is common with most phoenix races, it quickly warmed up. They provided a gear check at the start, but it wasn't carted to the finish. The start and finish were on different sides of the stadium, so it wasn't very convenient to check gear so close to where most people had parked their cars if it was going to remain there. Nonetheless, I still checked a jacket in case I wanted to change later.
I took it easy, not wanting to over do it since my foot is still on the mend. No PRs, but kept a decent pace and never stopped. Here's the short and sweet breakdown from the course:
- Super FLAT course. All road and pancake flat. I don't suggest a race like this to PR on, but at least you could for sure if you wanted to!
- Chocolate course goodies. Before or at various aide stations volunteers handed out everything from marshmallows to tootsie rolls.
- Volunteers. Those dedicating their time to help out always deserve some praise but the HC15K volunteers definitely earn an extra shout out! They were loud, cheerful, and really got the runners fired up.
- Post-race chocolate goodies. A mug full of delicious hot chocolate, chocolate fondue and a wide variety of treats for dipping. What a way to celebrate!
- Bling! This was the first year they did medals for the 15K finishers and they're awesome! Each city is unique too. Pretty cool. I really hope they continue doing medals in the future.
- Post-race fun. The "finish line party" was hoping! Tons of opportunities for post-race pics, everyone milling around enjoying their chocolate treats, and just having fun! Great atmosphere and great weather!
- Chocolate course goodies. Although fun, the marshmallows and tootsie rolls were difficult to chew while on the run. If you need fuel, best to bring it with you on this one.
- Gear check. I always utilize gear check, but if it's not shipped to the finish (no matter how close to the start) I suggest skipping it all together.
I even met up with some other local social media runners for a meetup! We got to know each other a little better and had a blast in one big group!
|Photo courtesy: instagram/issamosley|
All in all, I'd definitely recommend running this race. For the sweet bling, amazing swag, awesome course and volunteers, and the best way to celebrate your finish--chocolate! The Hot Chocolate 15K-Phoenix truly is the SWEETEST race in the desert!