- 3 miles/5K, 9 miles/15K
- Road Race
This is overall a great race! Well organized and I will definitely do it again and recommend to others.
As for pre-race - their communication is EXCELLENT. They send you a few emails before the race with really, really easy access to all the information you may need for race day. I could just refer to that email and click what I needed - address, expo info, start time, anything. That was a really helpful small detail.
The expo was in Fair Park, where the race was (Downtown Dallas). It was nice - it was $5 to park to get in (though it is also really accessible via the DART - our public transportation), then you walk to the Auto building and there's a big space, photo ops (blow up mugs and marshmallows), and a nice variety of booths. My dad went with me and noted that it was very female-oriented, which was true. Nothing to deter men from this race, just something we noticed. There were maybe 15 booths (?) set up - not a HUGE expo, but a good size. There was a lot of Hot Chocolate 5K/15K gear for sale including 2XU socks (my personal fav), sweaters, zip-ups, T-shirts, headbands, gloves... everything! Everything I want in an expo in my opinion.
The swag was AWESOME! A hoodie?! And great quality at that... I will definitely wear it a lot. It runs true to size... I am usually a small on top but got a medium because I like a baggy fit for hoodies and it was just that.
The aid stations were great... plentiful, many very friendly volunteers, had water and Nuun hydration and marshmallows! The water was in white cups and the Nuun was in blue, so you easily knew which cup to grab.
The scenery was fine - it is in the middle of Dallas so it was to be expected... lots of concrete (not a green/nature scenery if you're looking for that). The course was good, well marked... with excited and friendly volunteers with flags at any big turn.
The course was fairly hilly. Pretty much a constant up or downhill the whole time with one extremely steep up/down section around mile 8, up and down the bridge. It was fine (tough! but fine) in my opinion because there was always a downhill for each uphill!
The finish line experience was great - really awesome volunteers congratulated runners with excitement hand them their medal and they make their way to get the "Finisher's Mug" which is an awesome post-run treat with a big marshmallow, pretzels, a banana, and other dippers along with a big side of chocolate and, of course, a cup of hot chocolate! They had this very well organized - I didn't even have to wait at all for my mug. They even had plastic bags available to take your mug home without making a chocolate disaster all over your car! That little detail was also really nice.
There was a huge space where gear check was that was indoors that was a really nice place to hang before and after the race to stay warm. I went there post-run and hung out and ate my chocolate goodies as did most runners (it was a cold morning - VERY cold for us Texans).
Miscellaneous: there were plenty of porta-potties, an indoor restroom on the walk from the parking lot to race start, a Kid's Zone (I don't know specific details as I don't have kids), porta potties available along the way on the run route, medical tents available, and the HC merchandise was also available again for purchase on race day before and after the run. Because of the organization, there were NO long lines in my experience - for gear check or anything! - with the exception on the indoor restrooms (to be expected).
Overall, wonderful race management and organization! Everything ran extremely smoothly and I love the small details that were put into this race. Highly recommend!