Latest reviews by Kitti Drake

(2021)
"Louisville Hot Chocolate/Triple Crown"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

This was my 2nd year participating in the Louisville Hot Chocolate Virtual Race. The Hot Chocolate Swag is so Awesome, I couldn't resist the chance to do it again. I LOVE the Hot Chocolate Jackets and the fact that Chocolate is included in the race swag is an added bonus!!

This year the Louisville Hot Chocolate was the final race in a 3 race series, which included a 5K, 10K, and the last race was the Hot Chocolate 15K, so technically, you got 3 races for the price of one. Not too mention the extra swag for the other races in the series. The distances fit in perfectly with Spring Half Marathon training too.

My original plan was to stop in Louisville on the way home from Spring Break and complete my virtual 15K on the River Walk, but those plans got changed. The wonderful thing about virtual races is that if something changes, it doesn't ruin the whole race! I ended up completed by virtual race in Florida while I was on Spring Break. I Love the Hot Chocolate Series and I am looking forward to the time where I can complete the Hot Chocolate Race in person.

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(2020)
"8 Hour Endurance Relay"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

2020 was my first year competing in this race. To be really honest, despite hearing all good things this was a race I had no desired to run. The thought of being outside for 8 hours, running loops, did not seem at all appealing. However, after all the Spring races being canceled, I was happy to do a live race. My running club decided to put a team together for this race at the last minute. We were a coed team of 6 and each of us took turns running just under a two mile loop for 8 hours.

This race takes place at Butler University, which a Beautiful campus, just north of downtown Indianapolis. There was ample parking at the sports facility, as well as in-door, air-conditioned bathrooms!! Teams set up pop-up tents at the "Tent Village," and bring coolers, and snacks, in addition to the ample snacks provided by Carmel Road Racing Group. This makes for Great socializing with other runners while you are waiting your turn. Additionally, the loop runs right through the tent village, which makes runner support amazing!

This is a Great Race and I'm already looking forward to 2021!

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(2020)
"Louisville Hot Chocolate Virtual 15K"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

I had originally planned to do this race live in Louisville with several friends. This race was relatively early in the Covid Pandemic so we were extremely disappointed when it was switched to a Virtual face, but little did we know the majority of our 2020 races would either be deferred or switched to Virtual.

I feel like most people register for a Hot Chocolate race because of the great swag and even though the race was virtual the race did not disappoint. You get an Awesome Hershey Bar shaped medal , an amazing jacket (and the fact in was Orange and Blue, my college colors, BONUS!!), hot chocolate, and chocolate candy. We still got all of the great swag for the virtual race.

Even though this was unchartered territory, the race company did a great job with communication and mailing race packets in a timely manner. I really look forward to the day when I can experience a Hot Chocolate race in person.

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(2019)
"Marengo Cave 5K"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

If you haven't run a race in a cave, this one should be on your race list. 2019 was the 6th annual Marengo Underground 5K Run/Walk and this is the 2nd time I have participated. The race is in Marengo, Indiana, which is a very small town about 2 1/2 hours south of Indianapolis. My running club rents a charter bus and we drive down the day of the race.

There is a pre-race packet pickup the Friday night before the run and race day pickup and registration from 7:00 am - 8:30 am. Race day packet pickup is well organized and easy. This is a smaller race, with less than 1500 people. Participants do receive a t-shirt, but there are not medals at the end of the race. Early registration is $20 and later registration is $25 - $30, so not having medals probably helps keep the cost down. Participants do receive BOGO tickets for the Marengo Cave Tours in their bags. Since my group had planned to tour the caves after the race, we were excited to get the coupons.

The race doesn't start until 9:00 am, which is a little late for a summer race. It was already beginning to heat up when the race started. The first mile is outside, then you enter the cave just after mile one and miles 2 and 3 are in the cave. Participants exit the cave at mile 3 to finish the last tenth of a mile outside. In my opinion, that later start help the participants appreciate the coolness of the cave. It was about 80 degrees when the race began and the cave is 52 degrees all year.

The other negative, besides the medals, is that there are not any aid stations on the course. There are volunteers stationed throughout the course in case of an emergency, but their is not a water stop. However, there is a variety of fruit at the finish line. I never appreciated how refreshing grapes were on a hot day!

Faster runners also need to be aware that this is a family friendly race. There are several children and walkers. Children under 10 do receive a free entry. They do call serious runners to the front for the start of the race. Also, there was not a timing mat at the beginning of the race, so results are gun time.

For me, this is a fun race to do with friends. Both times I have participated, it has been with a large group. Except for the lack of water stops on the course, this race is very well organized. It wasn't even very congested at the start. I would totally recommend this race!

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