BWW Review: HOT CHOCOLATE 15K/5K in Columbus, Ohio - A Sweet Race to Kick Off the Holiday Season
On a frigid, windy day with temps in the low 30s and winds gusting up to 40mph, nearly 12,000 runners and walkers gathered together at the Arena District in downtown Columbus to participate in 'America's Sweetest Race', The Hot Chocolate 15K/5K, which benefitted the Ronald McDonald House Charities.*
The first wave (corrals A-G) took off at exactly 7:30am, then wave 2 (corrals H-N) started at 8:05am with about a four minute break between each corral in order to eliminate runner congestion. Due to the high winds causing a lack of signage, we were warned at the start to pay extra special attention to the 5K/15K split around 2.5 miles.
The 15K route took participants through downtown Columbus, the Short North, OSU campus, then back to finish at Nationwide Boulevard in the Arena District for a huge post-race party that included the highly anticipated and much-deserved hot chocolate and other sweet goodies. The 5K route went through downtown, along High Street, then back to the same finish line. There was a clear, separate distinction where 15K'ers met 5K'ers near the end to avoid any congestion. Despite the warning, mile markers and signs were clearly visible with split times noted and plenty of police officers and other awesome volunteers to guide and cheer us on. For the most part, the course was flat; however, the elevation along High Street combined with the thrashing wind in your face made for an unexpected challenge.
Along the course, there were plenty of water stations (four for the 15K and one for the 5K), which were well stocked with water and Nuun sports drinks. In addition, cheerful volunteers offered marshmallows at various points throughout as a special treat.
Thanks to the thousands of volunteers, the Expo, pre-race logistics and post-race party ran like precise clockwork to offer runners and walkers a smooth and easy day of fitness and fun. All participants received an amazing, high-quality, gender-specific zip-up warm hoodie -- worth the price of entry alone! 15K'ers proudly received an enormous chocolate bar lookalike medal wrapped in gold and hung by a shimmering finisher ribbon, which would make even Willy Wonka jealous.
Runners celebrated at the Post Race Party where they enjoyed music, a family friendly kid-zone (complete with bounce houses and games) and the coveted finisher's mugs filled with piping hot chocolate, oozing dark chocolate fondue and tasty "dippable" treats such as bananas, pretzels and Rice Crispy treats.
With Thanksgiving approaching which often is the start of a downward spiral of poor eating choices and less activity, the Hot Chocolate 15K and 5K is the perfect race to jumpstart the holiday season with a commitment to health and fitness. And with the added bonus of a chocolate wonderland waiting for you at the finish line, you can't resist this scrumptious event.
Top 3 male finishers in the 15K were Evan Schwartz (48:43), Jason Bumb (51:28), and Jonathan Bade (53:27). Top 3 female finishers in the 15K were Jill Welch (58:25), Sheri Zimmerer Branum (1:02:33), and Morgan Snow (1:02:46).
Top 3 male finishers in the 5K were Cody Null (16:34), Zach Kreft (16:38), and Ethan Miller (16:49). Top 3 female finishers in the 5K were Emily Sreenan (19:50), Libby Roether (20:41), and Tess Cassidy (20:47).
Congrats to all the finishers! See your official results here.
Watch a preview of 'America's Sweetest Race' below!
Want to find a Hot Chocolate race near you? Visit: https://www.hotchocolate15k.com for more information.
*Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is the official charity partner of the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k series. The RMHC program provides a "home-away-from-home" for families and children facing a serious medical crisis so they can stay close by their hospital at little or no cost. For more information on our charity partner visit our charity page.