Today was a momentous day indeed: Dear Husband and I finally ran our first race together! There’s really no excuse for it. I mean, I’ve done more 5ks than I can recall since we met, and he’s done one by himself (I was injured at the time), but still, that was almost four years ago.
Any who. Today we finally crossed a finish line together!
And I mean c’mon, doing it at a race where you get FONDUE and HOT CHOCOLATE at the finish line is pretty dang sweet. Ha. Literally. Didn’t mean to be punny.
In case you’re not familiar, the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k is an American race series held in major cities across the country throughout the year. Nashville’s is always around Valentine’s day, which I recall because the first time I even heard of it was a few years ago when I was visiting Dear Husband’s family here.
I remember swiping through Facebook on our trip weekend trip here (we lived somewhere else at the time), and seeing one of my husband’s friends post a photo of herself in downtown Nashville running a hot chocolate themed 5k.
She was holding a mug of hot chocolate and smiling in front of a giant inflatable marshmallow, and my first thought was, sign me up!!
Fast forward a few years, and we live here now. I had totally forgotten about the race (and to be honest run very few 5ks these days, since my focus on now on longer distances). Until one day a few weeks ago one of those targeted ads on Facebook caught my eye.
So, I signed us up!
The expo was open on both Thursday and Friday prior to race day, however due to the size of the race, packet pickup was not available on race day. Thankfully the packet pickup location was downtown only a few blocks from my office.
I thought it was a nice touch that they even gave out fondue, marshmallows, and hot chocolate at the expo itself!
The start time for the race was 7 AM, which is fine for early birds like me, but a tad early for night owls like my husband. I again thought that it was a nice touch that they had so many fun diversions for killing time while waiting around for the race to start.
There were tons of inflatable attractions, and even a bouncy castle for small children.
I suppose this character’s name was Marshall because he’s a giant marshmallow?
We also found these cute (and giant!) inflatable marshmallow-pretzel thingies, along with other inflatables to pose in front. This event is definitely chock full of photo ops!
In addition to a well-staffed bag check tent and information tent, there was a merchandise tent full of chocolate themed running gear. While I don’t have the biggest sweet tooth, I did think these cold weather headbands were pretty cute.
Even though there were over 6,000 runners, I was very pleased that the event was well organized and stayed on schedule. The wheelchair racers started at 6:57 AM, and the first corral of runners began promptly at 7 o’clock.
Keeping with the theme of the race, even the starting chute was decked out with giant inflatable marshmallows.
Both the 5k and 15k runners started at the same time, but I honestly felt like crowd control was so well executed that there was never a problem with congestion. Since I did not submit qualifying times for us (my husband doesn’t have one), we were placed in a late corral.
It was a good 25 minutes or so before we even reached the start line, but there was peppy music blasting through nearby speakers and a motivating DJ keeping the party going strong.
The course itself wound through the northern parts of downtown Nashville, very close to my office actually. All the volunteers and police officers out were kind and helpful, for which I am always grateful.
At mile 2.5 there was a water stop with chocolate! I literally never stop for anything during a 5k, but since this was meant just to be a fun run for me and my husband, we stopped for chocolate. I only ate one of the little morsels at the time, and somehow managed to run with the cup in my hand the rest of the way!
There were photographers at the finish line, and I received an email early in the afternoon alerting me that my photos were ready. I again thought it was a nice touch that free downloads were included in the price of admission.
Once you cross the finish line, you wind your way back through the party area with the DJ, bouncy castle, etc, in order to collect your finishers mug.
The mug is pretty cool actually – it has a cup holder in the center to holder your hot chocolate, and a big ring for goodies, with a little dipping hole for fondue. I definitely plan to use this for milk and cereal, or chips and dip, in the future.
The finishers mug comes with two marshmallows, a thing of ginger snap cookies, a bag of salted pretzels, some chocolate fondue, and a cup of hot chocolate. You also get a full bottle of water and any Nuun that you want.
Here’s a photo of the hoodie. It is exceptionally soft and thick, and the sleeves have thumb holes, which I love! The women’s hoodie is heather grey, while the men’s is charcoal grey.
Now, for pricing: When we registered a few weeks ago, we paid roughly $100 for this event for the both of us, including registration fees and taxes. Which, to be honest, is a LOT for a 5k.
However, to be fair, the hoodies themselves would easily retail for $50 each, plus you get the finishers mug, the fondue, the hot chocolate, the food, and the experience, so in the end I do honestly think it’s worth the money.
Tell me, have you run one of the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k races in a big city near you? If so, what did you think?
Until next time,