Bibrave Race Review: Hot Chocolate San Francisco

Disclaimer: I received entry to the Hot Chocolate 15K San Francisco 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!

Nothing says welcome to a new year like racing. I spent last weekend in San Francisco for a long weekend and the Hot Chocolate 15K. I always like going to explore while running. I took off Friday afternoon and got in around 530. In typical Spokane fashion, I flew through Seattle. After getting into SFO, I took an Uber to the South San Francisco Convention Center, since it was 3 miles from the airport. Best idea ever.

The Expo: Typical Hot Chocolate fashion. Small, but easy packet pick up. You get your bib and are assigned a number based off when you pick up your stuff. After getting your bib, you were directed to the packet pick up which involved getting your jacket and bag. Perks included being able to try on your jacket and being able to exchange in the exchange area if it was too big or small. There were local races present (Bay to Breakers), running stores, merchandise and free chocolate samples.

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Hotels for race weekend. I stayed at the Westin in Union Square. It was discounted and a shuttle stop for getting too and from the race. If you were a shopper, it’s right in the middle of the shopping district and in a nice area.  There were a few other hotels associated with the race as well that were doing discounts.

Getting to and from the race: Some parking, though limited. Shuttles were available and $9-$11 for round trip. My gripe is that they made a big deal about printing out your ticket (which means having to go to the business center and paying to print off something) and bringing it with you, and then they were never checked or collected.

Race Location: Golden Gate Park. Not going to lie, I wasn’t a fan. Here’s my thing with the Hot Chocolate Series, as I’ve done a few of their races in different cities. They have awesome cities that they go to (Chicago, San Francisco, Columbus, etc), but you don’t get to really see the city. I flew in for the race and part of it was to see a city I haven’t been to in 7 years and all I got was Golden Gate Park. Tear.

Race Day: so the state of California has been in drought conditions (read, go out for dinner and one has to ask for water because they only give it on request). Race day brought pouring rain and gusts of wind up to 30 mph. I got to the race start an hour and 45 minutes early. Another pet peeve of mine for HC 15K: the get to the race 2 hrs early recommendation. Anyways, it was raining the entire shuttle ride over to Golden Gate Park. A bunch of us went into a parking garage and hid out there until it was close to the race time. The rain was expected to the point where HC sent out an email saying there may be course adjustments but the race wouldn’t likely be cancelled the night before. What ended up happening was the 15K became 5.9 miles.

Course: All through Golden Gate Park. we lost 3.4 miles because the course was cut short and it equated to some of the high way of the course. We got to see Golden Gate Park and that was about it. Some hills, but nothing compared to the real hills of San Francisco. Water stops and stops with chocolate chips and marshmallows. Not as difficult of a course as I was expecting for San Francisco.

Post Race: After crossing the finish, I got my medal. I had to search some for water, that was all the way in the back of the chute. After I got my checked bag with dried clothes that I ended up not changing into, I went and picked up my post race food. Normally, I’d chills post race, but it was pouring rain and I was over being wet. I hopped on the shuttle back to the hotel and enjoyed my million dollar shower. It’s bad when you hang your clothes in the bathroom to dry after a race.

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Pros of this race: good running, good city, lots to do and organized

What needs improvement: show me more of the city. All I got to see was Golden Gate Park during the race. My chocolate was watered down, that was kind of sad

Hopefully I try this race next year and get a full course of it!

 

 

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Will Run for Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate is every kid’s favorite thing over the winter.  I would always throw in the mini marshmallows on top and then eat them before they melted.  When I was living in Chicago, before the days of me liking a run of over 4-5 miles, I had heard of the Hot Chocolate 15K which is usually held in November.  Besides getting awesome JACKETS (instead of t-shirts which I have more then enough of), the post race party gives out HOT CHOCOLATE!  What’s even better is that it’s Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate.

Fast forward to this weekend.  I was searching for races for later on this year and typed in the Hot Chocolate 15K and by golly, they have a 15K in Washing DC!!!  A racewhere I get a jacket and hot chocolate at the end :-).  Granted, we’re talking 9.3 miles in 35 degree weather on December 3 and the run is along the National Harbor.  A December run along a body of water means a bitterly cold wind effect.  Did I mention there’s hot chocolate involved? And that it’s Ghirardelli?

I’m thinking I need to form a Hot Chocolate Run team.  Team Marshmallow, Team Snow Day, maybe even Team Snowball.  Anyone interested???  Awesome Jacket included!!

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