The Hot Chocolate 15K/5K race was held on March 25th in San Diego; it was the inaugural race for this location, but Hot Chocolate has similar races across the country.
The race sold out and was capped at 7500 entrants. The registration fee:
15K – $65
5K – $45
The side of dingaling was all us.
And as many of you know, RAM had some big issues with the Hot Chocolate DC race, but they seemed committed to putting on a better event in San Diego.
I didn’t attend the expo so I don’t have much to say about it. Sarah and Emily picked up my bib for me which was great. I always appreciate when a race allows someone else to pick up your bib for you, a definite perk for out-of-town travelers.
This is a race that I would definitely want to arrive early at just to avoid parking issues. On the race’s website, there was detailed information about parking structures with maps and trolley routes, but I still didn’t want to chance it so I arrived for the 7:15am start around 5:45am and did some warm up miles with these two hoodlums:
I parked in the Hilton structure at 8th and Ocean and it was $10, but I’m sure I could have found free street parking at that hour if I had searched around. This parking structure was a great location: a quick walk to the start and easy to get to. Get to the race early to avoid traffic!
The 5K started at 6:45am and the 15K started at 7:15. I love split starts because it eases congestion and the start was already crowded with the 15Kers:
There were corrals, I think A-E, that were easy to hop into, and the race started right on time.
This is a hilly course: it starts uphill and the whole thing seemed to be rolling hills. There were some fast declines and some tough, long climbs.
Parts of the course were pretty; we ran through a park that overlooked the ocean and parts were sorta ugly. Near the finish we ran under the freeway where the sidewalks were lined with homeless people.
Water and sports drink were handed out every couple miles; I don’t there were any energy gels given, but I don’t think you need them either for a 9 mile race.
I believe there were timed mile markers at every mile; I remember seeing most of them.
Since I started closer to the front, I never felt like it was too congested or crowded. There’s not a ton of crowd support on the course, but there was a nice group of people at the finish.
The course finishes with a nice, fast decline: you can see the ocean and you can just scream down the hill towards the chocolate.
The post-race is why people do this race: for the hot chocolate. You received a tray with a pretzel stick, banana, apple slices, marshmallow and rice krispie treat.
Then you were served the chocolate fondue and a cup of hot chocolate.
As far as I saw, there weren’t any lines or mishaps; I was served immediately. The chocolate and food was good, but I’m not a sweets eater post-race so I didn’t eat much of the actual chocolate.
There was a large area to congregate, hang out and eat. I think there might have even been bounce houses for kids. Ghiradelli handed out chocolate samples and I also snagged a couple energy bars.
I’m not really sure why I care since all of my medals go in a box and aren’t displayed or anything, but I really like the act of receiving a medal after a race. I would honestly prefer a medal over a jacket, but that’s just me.
From my experience, I think the race went off without a hitch. For an inaugural event, I was actually impressed; I didn’t notice any issues at all. Rock ‘n’ Roll group might want to take a hint…
It’d be a fun race to do with your family or girlfriends but probably not as a serious race.
The race is expensive – $65 for a 15K is pretty dang pricey in my opinion. And I’m not sure how well the whole “hot chocolate in March in San Diego” idea really fits… in Chicago in the winter, sure, but when it’s the end of March and 65 degrees, I don’t really want hot chocolate.
I doubt I’d pay $65 to run only 9 miles, but the race was well managed, it’s a fun after-party, and it’s something different than your typical race. Overall I’d give it a 8.56 out of 10.