I was excited to be able to run the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k/5k for the 2nd year in a row. I was anxious to see how the race had evolved after it’s inaugural race in 2018.
“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com
Sadly, my better half couldn’t get off work early enough for us to make it to Charlotte in time for the expo. I was looking forward to the chocolate samples, but lucky for me, a couple of my Bibrave sisters picked up my packet for me and even dropped it off at my hotel for me.
I can honestly say that Allstate Hot Chocolate races has some of the best swag I have ever received at a race. This year was no different, as the participants received a full-zip winter running jacket with hood. The guys received black and women color was a reddish maroon color. To top it off, the jackets have thumb holes.
The forecast for race morning had changed a few different times. Up until friday, there was a 60% chance of rain on saturday morning but it changed friday night. The rain was supposed to hold off until around 11am, which would give me more than enough time to finish and get back to my hotel. I stayed at Aloft and the starting line was like a 4-5 block walk, so not bad at all BUT it was low 40s. It was cold but I still opted for shorts and short-sleeve shirt because I knew I would warm up pretty fast once the race started. The starting line area(also the finish line area) had booths already set up for the finishers. Huge shoutout to Allstate for being the only booth that though to bring heater towers. They had 3 and a lot of the runners gathered around them to stay warm before the race start. The 5k began at 7:30, and 15k was scheduled to start 15 minutes later. We started 3 minutes later than scheduled because some of the 5k runners arrived late so we gave them time to get out on the course. The 15k started and within quarter of a mile, we had already hit our first hill. As with the whole route, it was full of uphill and downhills. The crisp temperature helped keep me refreshed throughout the battle with the hills. About halfway through the race, it began to drizzle. Thankfully it wasn’t a downpour, but the drizzle wasn’t bad enough to really cause any issues outside of making it hard to see out of my sunglasses. The volunteers maning the water stops were great and were constantly yelling their support. The police officers controlling traffic were also a huge help. You had to fight through 1 last uphill before crossing the finish line. I finished about a minute and a half slower than 2018, but I was satisfied seeing how the course had more hills than last year.
Crossing the finish line you are greeted by volunteers handing out medals, before you can pick up a cup of Nuun and bottle water. The post-race festivities were about a 100 yards away from the finish so just a short walk. In the finisher’s area, you could take a picture in from of the Hot chocolate inflatable, but more importantly you can pick up your post-race chocolate mug. The mug contained a section of warm melted chocolate, cup of hot chocolate, rice crispy treat, marshmallow, banana and chocolate sticks. None of that food stood a chance, I finished it all off before starting my walk back to the hotel. There was also a booth that was serving tacos and rice.
No brainer, Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Charlotte is a must run. Yes, it is challenging but it is still a fun race and very well-managed. Did I fail to mention, FREE RACE PHOTOS. Hopefully I will run it again in 2020 to make it 3 years in a row.