"I received an entry to Hot Chocolate 15k San Diego to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
Hot Chocolate San Diego 2017 race day began bright and early from me with a 5:00am drive from Los Angeles to San Diego for the race. In lue of staying the night a bit closer, I opted for the packet mailing from Hot Chocolate. (which by the way was so worth the $15 mailing fee).
I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived into downtown San Diego to easy access and light traffic, which I did not expect on race day. I parked at the nearby parking lot and headed over to the race. Once I arrived at the race area, again I was happy to see such an organized set up. The gear check was well manned, and the pre-race area had enough room that I easily found my friends at our designated meet up location. We mingled for a bit then headed over to our start corral. The corral we were assigned to was a bit of a mess, very crowded and no way to get in. We moved back to the next corral, which ended up being a much better decision and allowed us to start the race calmly.
As I began the race, I soon remembered how hilly this course was. Since my friends and I decided to use this as a fun run to catch up with each other, we took the hills nice and easy. The course ran through downtown and headed over to Balboa Park which was beautiful. The wild flowers were in bloom everywhere due to the winter rain, and it really distracted from the elevation points. However, an even better distraction was the sweet stations! If you aren’t familiar with the Hot Chocolate race series, they have sweet stations (in addition to aid stations) with marshmallows, chocolates, etc. We hit each of these pit stops for a sweet treat. In addition, the aid stations were amazing! They were well stocked with water and Nuun Hydration (my hydration product of choice) and the volunteers at each station were amazing. There were so many high fives, words of encouragement and energy to keep runners pushing along.
We ended the race and headed straight for the refreshments. Hot Chocolate San Diego got this soooo right. Each runner got a plastic mug with hot chocolate, melted chocolate and all the fixings for dipping. They had tons of volunteers at the chocolate station, so there were no bottlenecks. Our group easily got our bags from gear check and found a spot to sit and enjoy our finish line treats. But the race goodies did not end there. The race medals were nice quality (in the shape of a chocolate bar) and the goodie bag sweatshirt was amazing (definitely one I will wear all the time).
Overall I thought Hot Chocolate put on a wonderful event in San Diego. The logistics were so smooth, the goodie bag and runners perk were better than I expected and the course beautiful. I will definitely add this to my spring race rotation for many years to come.
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