- 3 miles/5K, 9 miles/15K
- Road Race
+Efficient expo experience
+Awesome swag and post-race chocolate
+Nuun on course
-Parking was a bit confusing
-Access to the porta-pots was challenging due to placement
-Pacer placement due to corral structure was a bit confusing for runners
I ran the Hot Chocolate 15k – Nashville as a pacer through Beast Pacing gaining me a free entry to the race.
I attended the expo during lunch on Friday. I had my bib in hand within five minutes of entering the convention center. They did encourage you to browse the vendors by locating the swag bags on the opposite side of the hall. There were probably ten to fifteen vendors on-site including their sponsors. The swag for the ladies this year was a grey zip up hoodie. I’ve gotten a good bit of use since the race, it is definitely cozy.
The race started and finished in Bi-Centennial Park in downtown Nashville. I was a bit confused by the parking as the lots nearby the park were all listed as “closed” in pre-race communication. I’m somewhat familiar with the area so I parked pretty close on a side street and walked over. The announcers were a bit confused early on, announcing the race starting at 6:30 (rather than 7:00) which I’m sure gave a few people a shake. There were porta-pots on both sides of the park, near the start corrals and near the finish line. They were a bit challenging to find and the lines by the start line were confusing as there wasn’t an extended area to create a line vertically behind the doors.
The race offered two seeded corrals for those that submitted proof of completion time and then open corrals for all others. I was a 10:30 pacer in the seeded corral with 9:30 and 10:00 pacers behind me in Corral C (first open corral). I did find this was confusing for some runners on the course as I did get a few questions as I was running (“I just passed a 10:00 pacer, what’s the deal”). I was surprised by the size of this race. I was expecting a much larger (Chicago size) turnout. It definitely was not that which drastically improved the starting process. I think if this race grows, the starts will become much more congested as folks in the open corrals that are faster are subject to weaving those who submitted proof of time and got into the seeded corral.
This is a fairly challenging course with a good bit of hill climbing (~350 ft over the 15k course). This is normal for anyone who trains locally, but may be a surprise for an out of towner. On course, there were hydration stations placed every 2ish miles. The hydration stations were stocked with Nuun and other goodies (marshmallows). All finishers were awarded with a medal, hot chocolate, and a chocolate fondue with goodies for dipping. I don’t know if the process or product were different, but the fondue stayed dipable for longer than my prior experiences.
I’ll definitely be giving this race another go in 2018!