Yesterday I ran the Hot Chocolate 15K in D.C. If you follow the #runchat hashtag on twitter – or just a lot of runners – you may have seen tweets about the how disorganized/poorly run this race was.
For the most part I have to agree. Not to spread too much negativity here, but basically it boiled down to the fact that the this event was unable to handle the 22,000 runners they allowed to register. If you want to get a sense of all of the issues an Anti Hot Chocolate 15K Facebook page has been created by angry runners (after people indicated that their negative comments were being deleted from the Official Hot Chocolate 15K Facebook page).
Two groups of runners formed this morning – those who were at the start line waiting and cold, and those stuck in traffic for hours. I fell in to the latter group. Apparently 2 hours was not enough time to travel the 2 miles across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. I was nervous and upset that I was going to miss the race, but was trying to remain calm. I also knew that the race required runners to finish within a 2.5 hr time limit (15 min/mile pace), so I knew I could start over an hour late and still be okay. Luckily, there was an AWESOME radio station blasting out power ballads. Thank you BIG 100.3 for keeping me entertained and sane!
In hindsight, I was certainly in the “better” group of runners because let me tell you how unpleasant of a person I would have been sitting outside in the cold for over an hour PAST the scheduled start time. Yah – the race was delayed over an hour due to a variety of issues! Yikes. There was also no communication between race organizers and runners about this…other than the fact that they tweeted and posted on facebook that traffic was caused by a “severe accident” – which seems to have been a lie based on what others have said. Oops! Not your finest move RAM Racing! Anyways – made it over the bridge. Parked. Headed up to the start – race was already underway…and just went! I didn’t have any time goal for this race prior to – and certainly not after no warm up/stretching. However, I felt good. Finished in 1:15:58 – an 8:09 mile pace which I was totally happy with. Wish I could have moved a bit faster, but the congestion in this race only let up for about a mile (seriously!!). Path was wayyy to narrow for that many runners. I spent all my time weaving in and out of not only other runners, but also avoiding CARS! (yah road was not all the way closed), and attempting to avoid being ran over by racers coming from the opposite direction. I was mildly unsuccessful as during the first 6 miles, this course was an out and back with not enough room for runners on either side of the traffic cones. I got NAILED by a guy easily twice my size. Ouch! Oh well. Anyways – I finished, feeling good and HAPPY to be running….and the chocolate at the end was delicious. Nice work Ghirardelli! :-).
After the race (and the chocolate) I ate some sweet guacamole at a restaurant in National Harbor and posed in a giant hand that was coming out of the sand. All in all successful and a great day once I got running. Are there A LOT of improvements that need to be made to this race as far as organization? YES! However, when all is said and done, I got to run in a race today, in a new place, feeling alive and strong….and you know what, I’ll take it over all of the other possible things I would have been doing instead!
I hope you all are having a great weekend! P.S. – Did any readers run Hot Chocolate yesterday?