June 25, 2024

Will Run For (Hot) Chocolate

Author: Brett Stewart
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How do you choose what event you want to plunk your hard-earned money down on? In the world of OCR, Mud Run Guide is here to provide you listings of events, reviews, recaps, photos, and anything we can do to help you pick the right obstacle race that meets or exceeds your requirements for a great time. In the world of road running, dozens of resources exist to help you decide – but Hot Chocolate Run 5k / 15k can now be considered a “crossover” event with the world of OCR as Ram Racing was purchased by Rugged Events in August of this year.

Less Mud*, More Fun and Incredible Swag

*of course there was no mud… but there WAS plenty of chocolate along the course!

Road races may not be your bag, but OCR requires running and cardio conditioning, so if you were going to participate in a 5k or 15k this winter – why not one that hands out chocolate bars at aid stations and gives you a huge cup of hot chocolate in a recyclable fondue-looking bowl with a bunch of snacks to dip in it? Not hungry? How about a really comfy zippered hoodie and awesome finisher’s medal?

Big City Marathon Experience

If you’ve never competed in a half or full marathon in a big city, Hot Chocolate 5k / 15k is a great opportunity to experience all the excitement of a “big” event while participating in a more manageable distance for most runners. From the Expo through the finish line, Hot Chocolate 5k / 15k delivered the goods – an extremely well-planned, well-marked, and closed-to-traffic racecourse winding through the city streets with screaming spectators the whole way. I’ve been lucky to participate in a couple of dozen marathons all over the USA, and I can attest to this event providing a very similar experience on a smaller scale to HUGE events like New York City Marathon and others. I rather liked the Phoenix course as it was somewhat of a cloverleaf design, meaning runners were never far from spectators and had multiple opportunities to see runners coming and going in opposite directions on multiple out & back sections. In reviewing other HC courses, each location highlights all the major attractions in a city, some examples from Atlanta, Denver, and San Francisco are below.

A Day to Remember

For those of us who’ve done dozens of different races (heck, maybe hundreds) over the years, it’s a great feeling to enjoy the entire experience and walk away with some lasting memories – or at least sweet photos to help jostle those memberberrries down the road. Hot Chocolate 5k / 15k absolutely does not drop the ball here – minutes after finishing the race, my phone started lighting up with emails from EnMotive with subjects like: “6 Photos of You Were Found Brett” and eventually that number ballooned to 14 photos by the time I’d gotten home. Frankly, I have never – ever – received this many quality photos from an event, and especially in such an easy-to-find format, just one click from an email containing thumbnails of my snaps and I was able to browse not only my photos, but other runners that were tagged in my group too!

The Wrap

I participated in a Hot Chocolate event a few years ago before Rugged Racing purchased RAM Racing, and while also a quality event, it was on somewhat of a smaller scale and at a more remote location away from downtown. As a race director, I absolutely can appreciate the additional costs of producing an event in a downtown city center with dozens of street closures across major throughways and the logistics required to orchestrate the timing and ensure runner’s safety.

Without question, our friends at Rugged and RAM knocked this event out of the park and delivered a world-class event with all the amenities (tons of port-O-potties, many well-stocked aid stations with water, sports drink, and chocolate bars, an easy packet pick-up process with an emailed QR code to receive your personalized bib, great swag, live entertainment, a great announcer, and much more) that I highly recommend you check out for either a “fun run” or even an OCR off-season PR-worthy race. I sincerely enjoyed this event and am looking forward to making this a yearly tradition with running buddies and running several of these in the future.


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