“Disclaimer: I received an entry to Allstate Hot Chocolate 5K/15K as part of being a Bibrave Pro. Learn more about becoming Bibrave Pro(ambassador), and check out Bibrave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!”
I literally could hardly wait for this race. Not only was it my first race of 2018, but it was also my first time running a AllState Hot Chocolate series race. I had seen several running friends post about running the hot chocolate races, but I never had the opportunity since there was not one held in the state of NC. When I learned they were holding their inaugural one in Charlotte, NC, I jumped at the chance.
I was sweating trying to get to the expo. I had about a 2.5 hour drive and due to things beyond my control, we left later than I planned. Due to the fact there was no race-day packet pickup, I had to make it in time. In the end, all worked out fine, we arrived at the expo right before 5:30(expo closed at 6) The expo itself, wasn’t as large as many others I have attended in the past, but it served it’s purpose. Checking in was a breeze since all you had to do was pull up the barcode from your email, they just scanned right from your phone. Added perk was the little samples of hot chocolate you got on your way out.
Rain was in the forecast all week leading up to the race, but I was happy when the percentage dropped the night before. There was still some drizzle but I decided to walk to the starting line rather than driving.(about 1.5 miles from my hotel). At the start you are welcomed by giant inflatable marshmellow people and music. Since there was a 5k and 15k, the 5k folks were sent off at 7:45 with the 15k getting started at 8:05. Having a race began on time is always a huge plus.
The course itself was surprisly HILLY. I had friends tell me that Charlotte was not that hilly, and they clearly lied. We encountered our first hill a mile in, and the fun just keep coming throughout the remaining 8 miles. There seem to be water stops about every 2 miles, which was plenty for a cloudy, rainy day in the 50s. The police presence was amazing throughout the course. Every intersection had a cop, which helped make it a safe experience for all the runners. Upon crossing the finish line, you are meet with some sweet looking medals in the shape of once-bitten chocolate bars. After you receive your medal it was a short walk to the post-race festivities. There we were greeted with a huge chocolate mug, and inside the mug was: cup of hot chocolate, rice krispy treat, marshmallow, pretzels, cookies and a warm section of melted dark chocolate for dipping everything in. It was AMAZING.
The race has got to have the best swag I’ve received in a while. No regular t-shirts here, at the Allstate Hot chocolate 5k/15k you get a very nice fleece pullover to rock. I don’t know if the swag is the same during the hot months but a fleece pullover during the winter months is a definite welcomed sight.
No doubt about it, if you have the opportunity…RUN one of the Allstate Hot Chocolate races. It is a good distance, especially for runners that don’t want to take on a half marathon distance. I promise, you will not be disappointed. I’ll be checking my results on Athlinks and seeing how my rivals performed.