Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Hot Chocolate 15K & 5K to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
As I mentioned in this past weeks post, I ended up dropping from the 15K to the 5K for the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k in Kansas City.
I have been so excited to see that Hot Chocolate came to my area this year so I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t upset that I needed to drop my distance. I was really looking forward to seeing how a 15K event felt on my legs… Maybe next year!
Let’s see how this year’s event went!
Hot Chocolate 5K Kansas City | Race Recap
packet pick up — Unlike some of the large events I have run in the past, the packet pick up for Hot Chocolate 15K KC was at a local running store; The Running Well off Mission Road.
I have not been here before so I was sure to give myself some additional travel time. The packet pick-up window closed with the store hours at 7pm — and with no race-day pick up, I needed to be sure to make it there on time!
Other than there being quite a few people milling around the store, packet pick-up went very smoothly. I was able to get my bib close to the front door and then head out back to get my race swag.
There was also a little “aid station” in the store to get everyone excited for our chocolate treats to come!
parking — Since I am not super familiar with this area of Kansas City, I really tried to get out there EARLY… I was able to park close to the start/finish in lot N off Gate 6 and stayed warm in my car until I needed to head to the starting line.
Another bonus was there were port-a-potties all over the place (NFL football stadium) but none of the non-race ones had any TP…good thing I had some tissues in my car!
the start — I am not familiar with corral starts — but it wasn’t all that different than other races I have started. The corrals opened at 7:15am and the race starts at 7:45am — and the late risers tried jamming into the corrals as we were moving forward which made for some upset runners since they wanted to start ahead but were stopped at the start line. I started at the front of Corral C with the 12 minute pacer.
the course — The course for Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Kansas City circumnavigates the parking areas of the Arrowhead and Royals stadiums — with the 5K making one loop and the 15K making 3.
While being parking lot roads, there was still quite a bit of elevation change…nothing is really flat in KC, ha!
aid stations — Since the event is being held on a looped course, there is only 1 aid station marked on the course map — a little bit after mile 1 (4 & 7 for the 15K). There is water and Nuun sports drink on course as well snacks at the “sweet station”. Bring on the sweet treats!
port-a-potties — The event specific port-a-potties are located at the start/finish & the aid station location — but there are other ones throughout the space if NECESSARY to use one (minus TP).
swag — I mostly looked forward to the race swag for the Hot Chocolate events. Not your standard cotton or tech tee — but a comfortable jacket! Certainly a staple in my cooler weather gear going forward. Finishers receive a distance specific metal at the finish line as well as a biodegradable bowl of tasty treats with chocolate dipping sauce and hot cocoa.
post-race — The post race area was large enough to accommodate many, many more participants. I just wish my car was just a little closer 😉
After picking up my packet Friday afternoon, I traveled a bit (hello rush-hour traffic in a large city) to my parents house to visit with family. We hung out for a little bit before I headed over to my in-laws for the night.
My body was well rested (thank you Nana and hubs for taking care of the boys 100 miles away) and ready to get out the door at 6am. I made the trek down to Arrowhead stadium, Gate 6 where I planned to park as close to the post-race area as I could. There were already a large amount of people staying warm in their cars but I was able to find a “front row” spot.
I stayed warm (or at least less cold) in my car for a little while. A new Instagram friend somehow recognized me sitting in my car and stopped to say hi (hi Jenn!!). She informed me about the lack of TP in the port-a-potties near where we were parked and after a couple minutes of well wishes, we were both on our way. I knew the corrals opened at 7:15am but I really didn’t want to be standing in the cold that long — so I headed over a little after 7:30am (after loading up on tissues and hitting up the port-a-potty 30′ from my car).
With the sun coming up, the stadiums looked awesome! The speakers were loud and the music was jamming as I approached the starting area. I familiarized myself with the area — gear check (which I didn’t use), port-a-potty line (again didn’t use), post-race party area, and the most important place being the post-race chocolate pick up!
Before too long, I was in Corral C and waiting for the start of the race. You can check out my saved IG stories named HC KC to see all of the action!
Once the event let Corral A start the course, all of the following corrals shifted forward. In this process, many, many, MANY people began to try and filter into Corral B from the side which made Corral C shifting forward a little congested.
We were stopped at the starting line for a couple minutes — and then we were off!
The looped course might have been redundant for the 15K runners, but one loop felt great for the 5K. Due to an accident a few weeks before Hot Chocolate, I changed my registration to the 5K…which was a great decision. While the race looped the Arrowhead and Royals stadiums, it was anything but flat!
I paced myself well but I over-dressed since I wasn’t sure how good my leg was going to feel…and I didn’t want to be cold if I needed to walk the whole race. As luck would have it, other than some tightness from standing around in the cold at the starting line, my knee felt great!
I was able to run 85% of the event and walked a few times during which I took pictures, walked through the aid station, and later attempted to bring my HR down. If I was going to run the 15K, I would have taken the time to take off my hoodie…but since I was running the 5K, when I started to overheat after the 2.5 mile mark, I just kept going to the finish. Over-heating, red-faced and all!
Once finished, I headed over to get my bowl of chocolate goodies! I couldn’t wait to get it…but then took forever to eat it. Long enough that my “chocolate sauce” turned to a chocolate brick…which made for a nice snack on my drive back home.
I enjoyed my first Hot Chocolate experience! I am going to wear the jacket all winter long and I can’t wait to take on the 15K next year!
Have you run a Hot Chocolate 15K event before? This is my first Hot Chocolate event and I look forward to being able to run the 15K in the future!
What is your favorite piece of swag from a race? I really love the participants jacket at the Hot Chocolate 15K events! Surely something I will wear for years to come.
Want to run Hot Chocolate 15K & 5K in another city? Check them out on their social handles for fun promotions and to get the scoop on new race locations : Facebook – Twitter – Instagram
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