"Disclaimer: I received a complimentary race entry for the Hot Chocolate 15k 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!"
Last year I ran in the inaugural Hot Chocolate race in Las Vegas. It had a few issues (read about my experience here), but I’m always looking for an excuse to go to Vegas, so I signed up again! I was hopeful that they had worked a few kinks out and were able to draw a larger crowd.
I had hoped to have another girls getaway like last year, but my bestie wasn’t able to make it this year. So, I decided to just go for one night and make the best of it.
Just like last year, the pre-race communication was great. Lots of emails and training plans leading up to the race. There was packet pickup for 3 hours on Friday and 3 hours on Saturday. I arrived around noon the day before and pickup started at 4. It was located right at the Linq, which was great, but there is ZERO signage. I knew where to go since it was in the same spot as last year, but I can only imagine many people got lost.
I was happy to see that this year, the expo was actually BUSY! There was energizing music, every table had a small crowd. There were actual vendors and several backdrops for photo opps (score!). Also there was hot chocolate samples and chocolate dipped cookies. Yes, please.
Every participant received a nice Hot Chocolate warm soft fleece jacket (see above). I'll be honest - Doing a race in Las Vegas is brutal if you like adult beverages!!!! I’m not sure anyone gets a PR in this town. Ever. In fact, healthy activities and Las Vegas seem to clash on every level. Anyone that I told that I was running a race the next day looked at me like I was speaking another language. I had a fun afternoon of gambling, then got together with a friend from elementary school. Many beverages were had, but I was in bed at a very respectable hour.
FI tried not to walk too much the day prior so that my legs weren’t too tired. This was going to be my longest distance since knee surgery in October, so I’m still easing myself back in. I like to take my time on race morning. My room was literally a 10 minute walk (or less) to the start line. I stayed at Flamingo, which was so convenient. On my way to Starbucks I went out to their gardens and visited the flamingos. Super relaxing. But it was cold, so I needed to move along. I had plenty of time to enjoy some coffee and breakfast and hit the bathroom before the start.
The race started at the High Roller ferris wheel by the LINQ. We had a great backdrop for the race. I met up with a fellow Half Fanatic Maria Crawford (BustaGroove) and then my fellow BibRave Pro Justin (MayTheCourseBeWithYou) arrived for a pre-race selfie.
They did a much better job at the start this year. The 15k started on time, the announcer was energetic and kept the crowd going. He even brought over a family who had used Ronald McDonald House to speak to the group. A portion of proceeds benefit Ronald McDonald House.
The course was identical to last year. Still pretty dull, but it didn’t bother me quite as much this time. It was significantly cooler this year, so that helped. Like 45 degrees at the start instead of 65 like last year. The highway portion of the course is kind of annoying, but at least there were some mountain views.
At the finish we received our medals, which were nice. And we also got the famous chocolate cup with dippers and chocolate and hot chocolate. I still wish there was somewhere other than the ground to sit and enjoy your chocolate goodies
There was Nuun Hydration on course which was fantastic as I was so dehydrated from my Vegas indulgences. I only saw one sweet stop – marshmallows. I didn’t see m&ms this year.
If you're doing the race for the fun chocolate experience, I do recommend it. They are definitely making improvements to this race. I hope they keep working to make the start/finish experience more fun in the future to match the HC races in other markets. It was a fun “racecation” but on it’s own it’s a little weak. I still think it has the potential to be epic when you put Vegas and Hot Chocolate together.
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!