- 3 miles/5K, 9 miles/15K
- Road Race
The Chicago Hot Chocolate 5k and 15k was held on Sunday, October 29. There were 2 waves for the both the 15k and 5k, which began together – 7:30am for wave 1 and 8:15am for wave 2. 2 mile walk started at 9am.
+ Great goodie bag – they allow everyone a chance to vote for two options, this year it was between the same jacket, but different colors. It was a nice, long sleeve jacket and the options to vote on were different colors.
+ McCormick Place packet pickup, and they validated parking for $10. The hall wasn't as far from parking as most expos, so it was nice not to have to walk 2 miles to get there haha.
+ Expo had some great vendors and expo deals on gear. Lots of Hot Chocolate gear, Fleet Feet, The BFF, Raw Threads, hot chocolate, chocolate fondu with dipping treats, etc. Grab your bib on the west side of the hall, jackets were on the east side with a tent area to try on the jacket/exchange if needed.
+ Race start/finish in Grant Park, so plenty of parking options (though if you are parking anywhere near the race site, you have to be aware of street closures and get to parking early). I parked at Soldier Field.
+ Plenty of aid stations (Nuun in the Nuun cups, water in plain cups) and bathrooms on course with treats at most of the stations (marshmallows, M&Ms, candy corn).
+ Once the 5k veers off at Roosevelt, the course widened and opened up with less people, making it easier to navigate.
+ Mile markers and clocks.
+ Cool medal at the finish.
+ Post-race chocolate! You get everything in a giant plastic mug: hot chocolate, chocolate fondu, Rice Krispy Treats, pretzels, marshmallow, banana, wet wipe.
+ They had bag stations where you could grab a bag to put your mug into before leaving, so you didn't make a mess of your car.
- The first few miles are really crowded, especially the first 1.5 miles where you are on Lower Wacker and you are crammed into a two lane area. Lots of shoving and people pushing through to try and bypass the crowd, which was impossible anyway.
Turns out my medal was missing the chocolate piece, so I went back after walking almost to the end of the finish chute to exchange for a different one – they were very helpful and quick to help. The weather was really nice (at the start it was chilly, standing in the shade). Once we started running I warmed up and didn't need a hat or gloves long after the start. This is a fun race, and maybe if you're faster you don't have to worry about the crowds at the start/first few miles, but that was my only complaint about the race. Otherwise, very well executed, plenty of volunteers, race communication is clear and often, easy area to get to/from. Definitely a good race to add to your calendar. I was still tired from the marathon, so my legs weren't in any hurry to finish haha, but I had a good time with my mom and a friend. And of course, the best part is after you finish with all the treats ;)