This was single-handly one of the most fun races I’ve done…ever!
The Hot Chocolate series is a multi-city race circuit that includes 5K and 15K distances. I wish they actually went up to the half marathon distance, but I can see how these distances actually make the race more approachable and fun.
My husband was out of town for the weekend so I signed up for this race and enjoyed my race at my pace.
I’ve done the Rock n Roll Denver for the last three years (ever since I moved here) and this was my first non RNR race here. The race was runner, jogger, wogger, and walker-friendly. The chocolate theme is carried out pretty well, from the expo to the race itself. The expo had hot chocolate, marshmallow chocolate fondue, pretzels and chocolate, and more. There were a small amount of vendors.
Race morning was pretty chilly. As you can see from the photos it was pretty cloudy, and I’m wearing a beanie, warm base layer, a windbreaker, tights, and my Sparkle Athletic skirt. Sometimes I wear the skirt for fun…other times it’s to help break the wind when I’m running. At the race start they had plenty of inflatable marshmallows and even a giant Hot Chocolate mug! They were so cute.
The start was pretty crowded. I’m not sure how many runners this event pulls out but there were more people than I anticipated. Most people were wearing their race jacket ahead of time, which is a departure from the other races I’ve done where that would be shunned. The race seemed to attract lots of women, which is neat.
The race started off at Civic Center Park, and ran through downtown up to the RiNo arts district. It was one of the more urban/scenic races I’ve done, and I really enjoyed it. I thought that it highlighted a very interesting part of Denver, something unseen by most tourists. The course itself was a simple one, not a lot of turns or directions to follow. The roads were completely shut down and we didn’t seem to have any aggressive or angry drivers at the road closures since it was so far north of the city.
In terms of on-course nutrition, they had nuun hydration and Honey Stinger (both of my sponsors!), along with water and sweet treats. I was surprised to see marshmallow fondue, pretzels, and Hershey’s Kisses on course. I was very tempted to grab some but I’ve had a bad experience before with chocolate on a different race course, so I opted to get it at the end instead.
After the out and back, we ended up back at Civic Center Park at a really nice finish line. They were able to call out all of the finishers since the race wasn’t super crowded. There were photographers all along the course, but they were also in a prime spot at the finish.
After finishing the race, you can grab your medal (SUPER CUTE!!!!!) and can head over to the finisher festival to pick up one of the famous Hot Chocolate cups:
The cups included marshmallows, chocolate dipping sauce, hot chocolate for drinking, pretzels, banana, a Rice Krispies treat, and a hand wipe for after you’re done making a mess. They also had massage tents for VIPs.
Overall the race really provides a lot of value for the registration fee. Finish line fondue, on-course candy (“nutrition”!), a really nice hoodie, and race photos are included. It was nearly a bargain in my opinion since a running jacket and race photos would absolutely surpass the registration fee amount.
I highly recommend this race for everyone!