The 2016 Columbus Hot Chocolate Race was my first Hot Chocolate Race. I had heard about them but it never worked into my schedule.
Expo: The expo was at the convention center in downtown Columbus. Construction was going on around the building but it really didn't effect how easy it was to get in and find the room. Parking was also located right beside the center. Before walking into the expo, you were handed Chocolate right away. The first stop when entering the expo was to pick up your bib number then move over to the next table to get your jacket. Loved the jackets as they are very thick and warm. If you wanted to, you can be in and out of the expo in 5 minutes. There were several other vendors as well. Also, dont miss the chocolate dipped marshmallows, cookies, and of course hot chocolate.
Race Day: the race started and finished The McFerson Center. Parking could be found at several parking garages. Gear check was right beside the starting line. There were several signs pointing you in the direction of the starting line. Also at the starting line, the corrals were well labeled and volunteers were checking bins to make sure you were entering in the right area.
The race started promptly at 7:30. Corral A started first. A couple minutes later, corral B started and so on. Every corral got its own start.
The course was very well marked and impossible to miss a turn. The mile markers were accurate and where the 5k and 15k races split, there were plenty of volunteers and signs pointing you in the right direction. The 15k course ran through downtown Columbus and out to Ohio State Campus and back. The first half of the race featured steady uphill s. The second half was more downhill to flat. The aid station featured water, Nuun, and of course, chocolate.
Finish: after crossing the finishline, you are handed a medal shaped like a chocolate bar and a bottle of water. You can also take your bib, which has a tab on it to redeem for your mug of hot chocolate, fondue chocolate, and banana, pretzels, and other items to did into your chocolate. It was really good. In the park, a DJ was present as was Hot Chocolate Merchandise for sale.
Overall, this was a great race experience and recommend it for new runners and experienced runners.