- 3 miles/5K, 9 miles/15K
- Road Race
Since I moved to Chicago, I've always noticed the weekend of the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K- brunch that day always has incredibly long waits and nearly every person you see walking the streets is wearing their Hot Chocolate themed swag proudly. It seems all you need for a good turnout is a cool sweatshirt and the promise of chocolate at the end!
This was my first year doing the race. The race communication was on point, and I think participants got a good number of emails detailing everything about race weekend. I was irritated that the expo was all the way down at McCormick- seems like a far way to travel for a packet pickup, and I'd much rather just go to Fleet Feet or somewhere in the city. At the very least I wish they had a shuttle or something from the Roosevelt El stop to make it an easier pickup. Once I was in the expo, however, things moved really quickly and I even got some complimentary (delicious) hot chocolate for a taste of what was to come!
I also got to try on this year's hoodie at the expo. I ordered a Women's Small, my normal size, and tried mine on only to find it too large (especially in the sleeves). Since I opened my plastic packaging, I wasn't technically supposed to be able to exchange it; however, a really nice volunteer helped me get an XS instead. Hoodie is comfortable and a good weight- I just wish it had thumbholes!
Race day, however, was nothing short of chaotic. There were so many runners and everyone had a difficult time getting into the corrals. Friends of mine reported being pushed by course marshalls and one compared it to World War Z with the amount of pushing, fence jumping, etc. I have to wonder if race management was equipped for the amount of runners- it seemed like a safety issue. Waves also started incredibly late; friends of mine who were supposed to start in Wave 2 at 7:45 were still crossing the start just before 9am. Unacceptable.
The course itself was fine and a nice mix between downtown and lakefront, and the aid stations were good and you got to grab candy along the way, which is nice. And of course, the chocolate fondue afterwards is delicious, but personally, it wasn't worth dealing with the insanity of the start. I don't think I'll do this race again- I'll use the money I save to buy my own fondue fountain.