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I had a great experience at the Hot Chocolate 15K this year! This was my second time running it - I previously ran it in 2018 and had a blast, so I was happy to do this again!
I had my bib delivered by mail, so I didn't attend the Expo this year. On Saturday morning, my husband dropped me off nearby around 7:30, and the race didn't start til 8 so I had enough time to use the potties and warmup before getting in line to start. The DJ was spinning some great tunes which helped keep the energy up! It was pretty chilly and windy that morning, but I was hopeful it wouldn't be too bad once we started moving! The corrals actually moved really quickly and I was on the course by 8:08.
The course was a little bit different from previous years. Once you start on Eakins Olvil, you're sent off on Ben Franklin Parkway towards and around Logan Square, down Kelly Drive, and then you actually go over a bridge to get to MLK drive, run a bit, and then turn back around as an out and back to finish in front of the Art Museum steps.
My goal was to finish in under 2 hours, and I'm happy to say that I succeeded! I felt really strong through the entire race. I kept my eye on the 11:30 pacers and hoped to stay ahead of them, though they often seemed to be running a lot faster! The course is very flat. The biggest elevation changes were when you were coming off of Kelly Drive and MLK Drive (on the way back),
The crowds were great, the scenery was nice running along the Schuylkill River, and the aid stations were plentiful and well-equipped. It really felt like the pre-pandemic days! I had so much fun and was really proud to have a well executed race! I would definitely recommend Hot Chocolate (5K or 15K) - and I actually prefer the change in course!