Hot Chocolate 15k Dinner

Last night I was invited to a dinner in San Diego organized by RAM Racing, the Hot Chocolate 15K people. It’s not exactly around the corner (more like 80 miles south) but I was lucky enough to hitch a ride with some blogger friends.

I almost signed up for a new race on my phone after talking about running and races the entire car trip!image thumb3 Hot Chocolate 15k Dinner

The event was held at Avenue 5 in San Diego. It was pretty quiet being a random Tuesday night and all wlEmoticon smile2 Hot Chocolate 15k Dinner

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Skinny Runner, Haute Running Mama and the Faster Bunny

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Once Upon a Lime was the driver. Thanks Sarah!me and once upon a lime 576x1024 Hot Chocolate 15k Dinner

It’s funny that I just said I wanted to drink more and the opportunity struck right away! I got a glass of white wine (that I didn’t like) then moved on to the Sangria.IMG 5846 600x800 thumb Hot Chocolate 15k DinnerIMG 5856 600x800 thumb Hot Chocolate 15k Dinner

Me, OUAL and that bunny again wlEmoticon smile2 Hot Chocolate 15k Dinner

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The restaurant was very dimly lit and I didn’t bring the SLR because these are running bloggers not food bloggers and would have given me the business. So you get these pictures of a green salad and salmon dish.IMG 5852 800x600 thumb Hot Chocolate 15k Dinner

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Unfortunately I ended up skipping dessert because I thought there would be hot chocolate we were going to be leaving soon. Now I want a fancy restaurant dessert!

After a Sangria or two it suddenly seems like a good idea to wear a baseball cap and make faces…hot chocolate 15k dinner 1024x560 Hot Chocolate 15k Dinner

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The Hot Chocolate 15K / 5K is a new race in San Diego and the race organizers are trying to establish relationships in the community and with local media, hence the dinner.

They are also trying to prevent making the same mistakes they made at the DC race in December. I wasn’t really aware at the time since I was in Las Vegas running RNR, but the inaugural DC Hot Chocolate 15K was delayed 90 minutes in the freezing cold. There was a ton of bad press, negative reviews and angry runners! Now the organization is really trying to come back from that with a smooth, fun race. This weekend the race will be in Dallas – so they have a chance for redemption!

Washington Post Article on the DC Race

Hot  Chocolate’s Apology Letter on FB

The Hot Chocolate 15/5K in San Diego is on March 25th. The girls and I are getting comped entries so I’ll let you know if the hot chocolate is good. I mean, I’ll let you know if the race starts super late (which might work out for the best since I’m always late anyways!).image thumb4 Hot Chocolate 15k Dinner

Steve Ginsburg president of RAM spoke at the beginning of dinner then came to sit near us and talked extensively about all the thought that goes into the race. The organization has been putting on huge races in Chicago for years. They insist the DC issue was “everything going wrong at once” – but they never went into detail.IMG 5849 800x600 thumb Hot Chocolate 15k Dinner

Ultimately, I’m digging the fun run concept and want to check it out. A 15k is a new to me distance and I’m always down for some hot chocolate.

The HC15K is sold as a “fun run” where people dress up, have a good time and get some chocolate. The race does not give out medals, but will be giving a hot chocolate mug to keep instead. I thought this was a good idea, SR was not down with it and says ladies want medals (over 70% of the runners are female)!

I think most people don’t know what to do with their medal after race day and having a keepsake you can use again makes sense. I don’t think all races should stop giving medals, but they really pile up after a while!

What do you think? Take this poll and be heard! 

[polldaddy poll=5923263]

Updated to add: If you ran Hot Chocolate DC and want to post to your review feel free to link in the comments. Also, if you run in Dallas this weekend please let us know how it went on Monday! Good Luck!!

Comments

  1. says

    Sangria > dessert.

    I chose medal but I just throw them in with my fuel belt/bike junk or hang them on a door handle for a while if i’m feeling proud or something. I think I’d miss not having one, though. The medal doesn’t have to be fancy…so the race fee thing shouldn’t be an issue. Dollar store medals engraved? Can’t be tooooo expensive!

  2. says

    Wait a minute, I was screwed by Hot Chocolate in DC, where’s my free wine and comped entry :)?? Seriously, I will never forgive them for that cluster f$#. The hot chocolate wasn’t even anything special. I didn’t get a coffee mug either!

    Haha, ok, I’m still better. I hope you enjoy the race more than I did!

  3. says

    Is this seriously how RAM racing expects to get people to run their events? I’m disappointed that you didn’t do your own research before accepting free food from those people.

    It wasn’t just D.C. that was a nightmare. They’ve had issues in Chicago too.

    • says

      RAM Racing lied to everyone after the D.C. race and blamed their issues on traffic accidents (there were NONE) and the police (smart move), so I wouldn’t believe a thing they told you. We never even got a real apology from them for making us stand in the cold and then forcing us to run on a narrow lane on a highway that WASN’T closed for 5 miles.

      But yeah, if they invited you and Skinny Runner to a free dinner, I guess you had to go. Did you all go get Yogurtland after?

      • says

        They weren’t really forthcoming with details so I didn’t do any research into DC until this morning. I do remember reading Dietitian on the Run’s recap about it being a mess, but that is it.

        However, RNR Las Vegas had a ton of negative reviews, but that wasn’t my experience at all. So, I’m willing to check it out for myself. If it’s a disaster I’ll say it.

        If you want to link to your recap of the race in the comments please do!

        • says

          Considering that paying 65 bucks to run 9 miles is a first world endeavor, then yeah, it’s a first world problem. I find it difficult to have many third world problems living here in MD.

          • says

            Hahaha. Nice, Kara. Yea, the whole situation was balls. I live in Woodbridge and couldn’t even get to the Wilson Bridge, much less the National Harbor. So after 2 hours of sitting in traffic, I said ef it and bailed out to Old Town. I will never register for another RAM race again. At least I got an awesome jacket out of the deal…oh wait, that sucked too.

        • says

          I have to agree with Kara here. We aren’t talking about some $5 event held by a local running club. If I paid $65 to run that distance and experienced what she and others went through, I would be pissed.

          And yeah … paying that much for a 15K was a first-world endeavor to begin with. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

          • says

            Sesa – totally agree in that I woulda been pissed too. And probably never run a Ram Racing event again. But I wouldn’t be so ridiculous as to suggest that the rest of the world should boycott their events because of my own bad experience.

          • says

            I don’t find a boycott so ridiculous. If I understand correctly (and correct me if I’m wrong), RAM hasn’t comped or at least offered some sort of discount for the upset DC participants. Instead they’re treating bloggers/media to swag and dinner. That’s inadequate.

            I think it’s great that RAM wants to provide a better race, but they would look a lot better if they gave coupons to the runners that actually paid for a badly executed event, as opposed to a select few.

            So I won’t pony up the cash for the San Francisco Hot Chocolate 15K or any other RAM race held in the Bay Area. I’ll save my dollars for race management companies that have better reputations. Maybe I’ll change my mind in the future, but only if I read better race reports and reviews.

        • says

          Yes Margot,

          It IS a first world problem. But the facts remain that 1) the race was expensive, 2) it was poorly planned out from packet pick up, to shuttle buses, to parking, to course route, etc 3) RAM Racing flat out LIED about the delays/course issues etc, 4) a top-notch, premier, winter/rain running jacket was promised which helped to justify the hefty price tag for a lot of runners, but it was really a non rain proof garbage bag and 5) RAM never offered a real apology, just placed blame on others and did nothing to make ammends with its customers after the fact.

          Just because it is a 1st world problem does not mean that customers should not voice their opinions, complain/criticize poor service, and/or warn other runners about the issues surrounding this race and this company.

          I ran the DC Hot Chocolate 15K and spent a lot of $ to do so (gas, hotel room the night before as I live far away, food, etc in addition to the pricey race fee itself) because it seemed like a great experience and a fun run to complete. I was lucky because I was actually able to make it to the start and run the race. Several other runners were not so lucky and RAM refused to offer anything to those folks.

          I am a PhD Student and on a tight budget, so therefore I am not willing to give up my $ and time to participate in another race run by a company who treated its customers so badly.

          Was it a horrific experience, NO! I still got to run and have some fun. Was I upset about how RAM handled the event – and more importantly, treated customers by lying – YES!

          Here is my recap of the race. As you can see, I acknowledge the downfalls, but am able to see past them. http://dinedashdeadlift.com/2011/12/04/a-bad-day-running-beats-a-good-day-in-the-office/

          Finally, just because RAM Racing treated you and your friends to dinner and free registration does not make everything okay for everyone who feels upset and screwed over by them in DC. A first world problem, yes – but still problems a 1st world company should deal with. I urge you to look at your own life as I am sure you have complained about things that are “1st world problems” before. We all have. And therefore, try to be a bid kinder to another person for venting their frustration about a different 1st world problem. Just my thoughts.
          Hope things go better in the San Diego race when you all do it.

          • says

            Alright y’all. Since this thread is still going I will reply again.

            My rude reply to Kara about “first world problems” was more a spur of the moment response to what I thought was a rude comment “But yeah, if they invited you and Skinny Runner to a free dinner, I guess you had to go. Did you all go get Yogurtland after?”. It was probably immature of me to be snarky back, but that’s what I did and I can’t take it back.

            Monica and Skinny Runner spent much of the dinner we attended asking the Ram Racing people about what happened in DC. We never got a straight reply. Ram handled the situation poorly and they should have owned up to it.

            I get that the race sucked and was a terrible experience. I’m sorry for those of you that experienced it and lost money. I don’t get why people feel the need to be snarky assholes in the comment section just because the blogger happens to get a lot of pageviews.

          • says

            some of us have experienced bad races (hello, Rock n Roll Vegas) and we all have the right to profess our frustration, boycott the companies, agree or disagree with other bloggers, etc but like Margot, YOU DONT HAVE TO RUDE OR SNARKY ABOUT IT.

          • says

            Not my intent to be rude or a “snarky a-hole” (although to be honest I have never heard the word snarky before). I’m sorry it came across that way. Was just giving my opinion and agreeing with some other commenters, not purposefully being a jerk.

  4. says

    Sounds like a fun race. I have done a few mountain trail races in Colorado and have received a beer glass after with the race logo and a free beer from the local bar at the base of the mountain. Personally, that is my favorite swag from races. Plus the bragging rights are way cooler when a friend gets a glass of water from my house and asks, “did you do this race.” “Hell ya I did!”

  5. says

    Sounds like a fun race! I understand why everyone was annoyed in DC though. If I had to wait 90 minutes for the start of the race, I would have been mad too! At that point you could have been done and in the middle of a celebratory meal before you even started!

  6. Ida says

    I read bad things about the DC event, but the race is coming to SF in the fall and I still want to check it out. Honestly my biggest hesitation is the cost of the race.
    I cant believe people like medals so much! I’ve stopped taking them after races b/c they just sit in a box under my bed. Maybe if I place and WIN a medal it would mean something, but a finishers medal seems like a waste of money and resources to me…

  7. says

    I voted for a nice tech shirt. Medals are a nice keepsake, but shirts can be used!

    Even after all the negativity about the D.C. race, I decided to go ahead and sign up for the 15K in Dallas this weekend. I’m really hoping they learned from that last disaster! The race sounds fun and is close to home. What can I say, I’m a glutton for punishment.

  8. says

    I ran the Hot Chocolate 15K in Chicago in ’10. It was fuh-reezing that day, and the hot chocolate was definitely a welcome post-run treat. As was the gigantic race bag which I filled to the brim with Ghirardelli milk chocolate squares. Amazing.

    That year, the race had grown immensely in popularity, and although they moved locations to try to accomodate the larger number of runners, the course was still far too narrow for the number of people. It was one of those races where you are dodging people the entire time, and it just honestly was not as much of a “fun run” as it could’ve been. Though I liked the chocolate, I pretty much decided that I’d never do the race again…

    Until this year. RAM heard..and listened to..the concerns that their participants had, and went out of their way to provide a better, more accommodating course for the race the next year. They sent several emails to previous participants requesting feedback, and promising a better race experience. I went from swearing I’d never do the race again to being really disappointed that I was going to be out of town on the weekend it was being held. I have never been more impressed by customer service and quick response to feedback!

    I wasn’t in DC, so I don’t know what went down there, but given RAM’s response in Chicago I’d be willing to bet that they’ve learned from the mistakes and will present even better race experiences in the future.

    You’ll have a great time running, and then gorging yourself on chocolate!

  9. Laura says

    i’m running the race in dallas this weekend!!! i cannot wait! i’ll be sure and give you rundown of it on monday:)

  10. says

    This was a fun night! So glad I finally got to meet you! Regardless of what happened in DC the company, just like all of us, deserves a chance to redeem themselves. They did admit that if they have another “Epic Fail” they are done.

  11. says

    I’m not one to get angry, but this really irks me. DC was a disaster and runners never received any compensation. In fact, RAM blamed MD police for their mistakes while “taking responsibility”. There were many more issues than the 90 minute wait- like running on a highway in a lane so small that people were falling- into TRAFFIC. Where there were SEMI trucks. Not. kidding.

    http://www.runordiechick.com/2011/12/hot-chocolate-15-04k.html
    My review is lighthearted because there were so many angry reviews, but I don’t think that RAM brown-nosing in SD makes up for them screwing DC. Sending a hat to everyone in DC who ran would have been something small to make runners feel like RAM cared. I won’t do a RAM racing event again.

  12. J says

    Anything and everything Hot Chocolate race is a disaster.

    Although I am holding out hope the one in Dallas goes well since Dallas doesnt mess around and likes law and order when it comes to their races.

  13. says

    wow, there are a lot of angry people from that race! i heard about it for a brief second..

    i’m running my first 10k this year.. actually in 2 months.. and the most i’ve ever run is like… 3 miles.. i’m nervous! hah

    have a good day!

  14. says

    Sounds like a fun race! It’s nice that they are trying to redeem themselves and get it right! kudos to them! I’m near Ontario so this race is definitely doable for me! Any excuse to go down to San Diego is ok by me. I LOVE it there!

  15. says

    I’ll be running the Hot Chocolate race in Dallas this weekend…I trained for the 15K but it’s my husband’s first 5K, so I’m running with him. I’ll let you know how it goes!

  16. Melissa R. says

    I ran the DC 15K Hot Chocolate (no link..no blog…no review) but that was the shittiest race I’ve ever run–I gave my “jacket” to my daughter since I didn’t want to be caught wearing it. I think the course was shorter than 15K, too, which pisses me off. I will never do anything associated with RAM again.

    I voted for a lower entry fee — I’ve got enough shirts and finisher’s medals. I (personally) think that medals should be for the people who place in their age group/win but I understand most people do not feel that way which is cool :-)

  17. says

    I’m running the Hot Chocolate 15k this weekend in Dallas! I plan to post a review on my blog! I am nervous now after reading all the comments! eeek!

  18. ty says

    I also ran the race in DC and was horrified. Not only by the disaster during the race but also by the way it was handled. I find it funny that they are trying to advertise it as a “fun run”. I don’t know about you, but a fun run to me isn’t one that costs an arm and a leg!

  19. says

    I am running the Hot Chocolate 15K in San Diego too! I signed up a long time ago before all the “drama” I reallllyyyy hope they get their stuff together and that it will be a great race. I’m traveling over 500 miles for some chocolate!

  20. Robyn says

    I’m running the Dallas Hot Chvocolate this weekend and I’m excited to see the changes. We get a jacket, which I’m so super stoked about! I am a border-line hoarder, so I keep everything from every race….bib, tee, swag bag, medal, etc (I even have my foil blanket from my first half, lol) I’m happy with whatever goodies I get :-)

  21. Anodyne says

    I ran the 15K Hot Chocolate in DC and it was everything that has been described. Freezing cold, waiting for an hour and half, terrible transportation issues, etc., etc., etc. It was Baaaaaad. But, I feel like we should all be such better sports about it. I was even paying a babysitter and ended up being 2 hours late returning and I just have to shrug and say “that’s life”. I’m sure RAM did not intend on the catastrophy of the day — it was just one wrong thing after another. They wrote a seemingly sincere apology. There is not much more that can be done. Hopefully they have figured out the problem and they do better next time. Primarily, in my opinion, relocate it to ANYWHERE other than the national harbor.

  22. says

    Давно не заглядывал на ваш сайт. А тут и почитать и посмотреть есть чего. сча в рсс добавлю. Так удобнее ;) И всем советую.

  23. Megan says

    I usually don’t comment, but I ran the hot chocolate 15K in Chicago in 2010 & it was not a smooth race, nor did it go off “without a hitch” I keep hearing about what an awesome race this was & I heard it was a much better experience in 2011 (after the race was under new management & heavily advertised as so) when I ran the race, the post-race party was lame & so poorly organized, the water stations ran out o water along the course & people couldn’t get into corrals to start- I ha to hop the corral, following suit of many runners there who also couldn’t manage to get in to the corrals. It was a big disappointment & I would be cautiously hopeful for a more organized race and a better experience. The biggest disappointment was the copious amount of chocolate promised at the end & there was none in sight! :(

    • Melanie says

      Ditto the lack of chocolate. The food consisted of 1 hot chocolate, 1 pretzel rod, 3 apple slices, 1 marshmallow, 1/2 banana, a 2×2 rice krispie treat and some melted chocolate. That was all. You could not get more either. They were taking tickets for everything.

    • says

      I ran the 15k that year too and that was pretty much my experience as well. I also ran in 15k in 2011, but like you said it was only because it was heavily advertised as being under new management, and they made a big effort to address all the issues that occurred in 2010.

  24. says

    I live in San Diego and am considering running the Hot Chocolate 15k. These reviews of the other races have me a little scared, but I’ll judge for myself. I also intend to judge copious amounts of chocolate. Hopefully they’ll be able to work out the problems they’ve had in the past and put on a great race!

  25. Denise P. says

    I did not see an “All of the Above” option on the poll… :)

    I guess my desires differ based on the race – smaller races around town should invest in better race shirts rather than give out tiny or cheap looking medals. The cheaper entry and less frills is also a nice option, since I have recently poured too much money into big name events like Rock N Roll and the Tiffany necklace-giving Nike Women’s.

    I contemplated doing this race, but honestly was put off by the negative press from DC. Also, San Diego is a 2+ hour drive for me and a hotel really isn’t in the budget will all the other destination races I’ve got coming up and getting up super early really does not appeal to me. But… if say they give you an entry to give away – I’ll gladly throw my name in the hat.

  26. says

    I run the Hot Chocolate 15K in Chicago in November. Never have had an issue. They always give away a great hoodie or jacket. Lots of chocolate at the finish line too! The 15k is fun distance, finding distance between a 5K and a 1/2 marathon can be hard to find.

  27. Emily says

    The race in Chitown takes place the first week of November. Every year it gets mixed reviews from runners. So, every year thus far in my running career its always on my list, but I end up passing it up (its also kinda pricey). If I cave in 2012 it is strictly for the ghirardelli at the end :)

  28. says

    OMG, I never get anything good from my races. I did run one race that gave out free beer at the end and of course i was pregnant! My husband felt bad and bought me a used treadmill for my home gym :)

  29. Alexis says

    i ran in DC and while it was sort of a disaster, i was more disapointed in the jackets then anything else. yes the race started VERY late and yes, we ran on the side of a highway which was kinda crazy and yes we ran through gravel toward the end (which made me very mad at the time but now its all whatever) but what really upset me is the fact i had to get a large jacket. i have lost so much weight and i was back in a large jacket. i was pretty upset…so i bought a garmin :). I would run it again though

  30. says

    I agree with you, would rather have a mug than a medal only because it’s.a 15k, not a half or a marathon, so I think people would e excited to have something different! An useful!

  31. Amber says

    This actually reminds me of a much worse version of my experience with RNR Savannah.

    These groups should really get their act together.

  32. says

    It’s interesting that the RD wouldn’t go into details about DC, it’s not as if they’re a secret. Maybe he didn’t want to rehash everything, but the feeling here is that RAM Racing blamed everyone else, from a policeman who directed the lead bike the wrong way, to an accident that never really happened. I hope the San Diego race goes well!
    I actually worked the expo and blogged while events were unfolding – http://www.racingtales.com/hot-chocolate-shirt-giveaway/ – and then wrote an article on how to choose races: http://www.racingtales.com/vote-with-your-feet-and-dont-drink-the-sand/

  33. Chrissie says

    I ran the hot chocolate 5k in November in Chicago and the start was delayed by half an hour…also in the cold, but we also ran by the semi that got stuck under the el tracks on the course so that was semi legit. But as a runner in the open corral, the course was super crowded. It wasn’t even worth it to wait in line for the chocolate fountain with one marshmallow and half a banana to dip in it, and the jackets are horrible quality. I would’ve rather had a mug or something. I’m doing a RAM Racing 5 miler in May so hopefully that will change my opinion of them! But so far, I’m not impressed by them.

  34. says

    Wow, I don’t know if I’d want my name associated with RAM racing at all. Their event in DC was so bad, they delivered on so few of the things they advertised, that most credit card companies actually allowed their customers refunds for the event. At least BOA and Citi did. Also, the DC run wasn’t marketed as a “fun run”. Lots of local running groups provided training groups for this race. I feel so terrible for people who ran this event as their first race – they’ll probably never do another.

    http://carlybananas.com/2011/12/04/hot-chocolate-5k-recap/

  35. Melanie says

    I ran this race. It was pretty ridiculous. I made it by leaving my house 2 hours early. The normal drive is 15 minutes from my house. Friends of mine who left 15 minutes after me never made the race. The food provided was minimal (the 1/2 banana was pretty amusing) and the jacket was also the cheapest garbage that didn’t fit. They made quite a profit at the expense of the runners.

    I think it’s a disgrace that they are refusing to offer refunds to the thousands of people who never even made the race and are instead wining and dining bloggers to promote their shady company. The Maryland Attorney General is investigating and I hope the people that lost their money can get it back.

  36. says

    I ran the Hot Chocolate 15k in Chicago in 2010 and it was a hot mess all around. They overhyped the race. The jackets they handed out were poorly sized, poorly made junk. It was insanely crowed on race day. They put the gear check in a too small area right next to the start corrals. It was jam packed and no one could move and no one could get into the corrals. I had to jump the gate to get into corral. The course was way too narrow and you couldn’t run comfortably at all. They also had the part of the course in narrow open path along a busy road that could not accommodate the number of runners.. They ran out of the chocolate that they were handing out at the finish line. They had so many issues that the next year the hot chocolate was HEAVILY advertised as under new management.

  37. Shannon says

    A lot of people have complained about Las Vegas, but I ran the Chocolate Run three years ago in Chicago. That was a disaster, so Vegas wasn’t that bad. RAM continually puts on poorly organized events. They are all about profits and not runner experience. If you are a serious runner, I would avoid them. Because of the fun nature, their events attract people who have never done a race before. There will be people walking at the front 5 across.

  38. MKDR says

    I ran the DC 15k – and people are not exaggerating about the epic failure of that event. Since I’ve started racing in large events 4 years ago, I’ve done more than a dozen huge races (Broad Street 10 miler in Philly is capped at 30K people now) that go off with nary a hitch and others that have had its problems (last year’s Rutgers UNITE half marathon that had to be re-routed and had mileage cut due to unexpected flooding prior to and during the race – that was handled very well – and people still complained about it). I have NEVER experienced anything like this. Everyone in my group made it to the start line in plenty of time for the 5K start (half of my group was doing the 15K, including myself). Me and the 5Kers were coming from a hotel in Alexandria which just happened to have a shuttle – not advertised until the packet pickup. We made a last minute decision to take the shuttle that morning. best decision of the race. Our shuttle driver saved our race experience by being persistent and insisting that he was allowed to go through closed exits to get us to the start line – other shuttles did not do this and people were stranded in traffic.

    The rest of my group was staying with a local, who upon realizing there was no metro access to the race site and basically one way in decreed that her group would be leaving an extra hour earlier than planned. That was their saving grace. The area where people were standing around waiting with the (very impressive) large quantities of portapotties was up a hill from the start line (and loud speaker) so there was no way to know what was going on for all the people up in that area. Eventually we got word through people talking the 5K race was delayed for a short amount of time (not sure why)…but that time came and went. Finally the 5K went, and then they told us the 15K was delayed additionally unexpectedly. We had been standing in the cold for over 2 hrs at this point.

    The run itself started on a highway that wasn’t totally blocked off, and the out portion was 2 lanes – but the lanes had cones in between them serving only as tripping hazards. I haven’t seen as many people go down in another race as in the first 3 miles of this one. The end of the course on the narrow gravel path open to the water was also pretty concerning.

    Finish line was disappointing as well – water in bottles that had to be taken out of the cases (still wrapped in plastic) – not already prepped and easily accessible (this is a pretty nitpicky comment for sure), and NO FOOD immediately. We had to walk up a steep hill to get to the celebration area and wait in line for the food (waiting is not unusual at big events, but there is usually some sort of food available in the finish area immediately). Fondue was good, but it was the ONLY food. Maybe not normally an issue, but the race had been so delayed that most people were more hungry than normal at that point. I missed the hot chocolate in my dash to get in the giant line for the shuttle back. I was lucky in that my shuttle line was short since less people were taking the hotel shuttle than the parking shuttle – but suddenly our shuttle just stopped coming. They forgot to account for the Irish Parade in downtime Alexandria and didn’t tell the driver to take an alternate route to miss it (easily done) so it got caught in the traffic and didn’t come back for about an hour (it is a 15 min round trip drive). We demanded a shuttle and the very helpful (they were the best part) volunteers re-routed a parking shuttle to take us to the hotel. The passengers gave the shuttle driver directions since she didn’t know where to go.

    Oh, and the expo pretty much sucked – very few vendors with extremely high prices and hardly any product. And as most people said – the jackets were NOT as advertised AT ALL.

    Very interested to see how they make out in CA…looks like Dallas was somewhat better – still sounds like they had some similar issues but not nearly as bad. They have not, however, made ANY attempt to rectify the situation with any of the runners from the DC run.

  39. says

    I ran the Dallas one this morning and I’m happy to report that it went VERY WELL! :) I’m working on a race recap now, but just wanted to chime in that the experience was good. It started on time, lots of volunteers, well marked course with plenty of room for runners, large police presence to deal with traffic/road closures, and the chocolate was delicious!

    I was so nervous about it after hearing all about the problems in DC so I went in with very low expectations. However, I would definitely do it again next year!

  40. Robyn says

    I also ran Dallas this morning and agree with Jenn. Other than the fact that it was absolutely freezing, it went well. Race started right on time, and the course was wide and open. Plenty of water stations offered water and Gatorade and were very smooth. My toes almost broke off from frost bite at mile 2, but once I warmed up I had a great run and met my time goal which was so cool. Yay me!!
    My complaints: The finish line was very congested which made it difficult to get to the water, much less stop and stretch. There was quite a long walk to the post race party….I think they should make it a 10 mile run and close that gap. When you know chocolate is waiting for you, any walk seems long, lol. Inside where the “party” was, it was packed. Everyone was trying to get their chocolate and hot cocoa, plus stretch and recover, all while a security guy screeched in a mega phone for people to keep moving….that was frustrating!
    Overall it was a fun race. I think the changes RAM made were good ones and I wish them much success in future runs. My finisher jacket, although cheaply made and thin, is a fun prize however I would have preferred an awesome looking medal. My OCD is not going to do well with the unbalanced bib to medal ratio on my race wall. I don’t know that I will do it again next year….I’m in the Houston area and just don’t think the travel was worth it, but today was fun nonetheless :-)

  41. Sandra says

    I’m just excited about the Hot Chocolate Run that will take place in SD at the end of this month. I’ll be running with my daugher and planning to enjoy every mile. I usually give all I got during races but this time I’m just going to have fun. I’ll be doing LAM the weekend before so my expectations for SD Hot Chocolate Run is not to PR. Plus my 11 year old daughter is doing her first 5k and I’m planning on staying at her pace. A few of my cousins will also be planning on running it since they live in SD. It sounds very fun…I mean what place is not fun when there is chocolate around!!! :0)

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