RECAP: Detroit (Virtual) Hot Chocolate 15k

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Allstate Hot Chocolate Virtual 15k/5k – DETROIT as part of being aBibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!


I can finally say that I’ve earned my chocolate! Not sure what I’m talking about? The TL;dr (too long; didn’t read) version is I signed up for a local Hot Chocolate 15k in 2015 and didn’t get to actually participate. Check out my Hot Chocolate 15k preview for more on that experience.

For now though, here’s my recap of my 2021 VIRTUAL Hot Chocolate 15k!

Location, Location, Location

First, I am fully aware that this run did not take place in Detroit as originally planned. It’s also not lost on me that this makes TWO Detroit events within the last six months that I’ve signed up that have had to be done virtually. That’s okay though. Like so many of you reading this, I have adjusted to running races/events virtually. With that said, there’s no place like home (or close to it) to knock out a virtual race. Since I am training for a slightly more challenging event in early May that involves trails, my choice of location for THIS virtual run reflects that idea.

Flat Preston is ready to go!

I took to Highbanks Metro Park – part of the Columbus Metro Parks system – for my Hot Chocolate 15k. Not the most challenging place to run, but also not a leisurely stroll in some spots. It is, however, one of my favorite parks to run simply because the trails are very well maintained. Additionally, there is one particular overlook that makes any trip to this park worth it.

The view from the Highbanks Overlook Deck with the Olentangy River below.

So I started near the Nature Center, which is where I start most of my runs at Highbanks. The main differences with this run compared to previous efforts was that I wanted to minimize repeating sections AND I didn’t want to loop back to the car before I was done. As a result, I did carry water with me in a hydration vest. This proved to be a very good call!

Two miles into the 15k – feeling good!

Two miles in and after a short break at the overlook deck, I headed back towards the interior of the park to complete the Overlook Trail portion of the run. Once back on the main loop trail of the park (Dripping Rock) I was able to get the remaining 7 miles by running essentially the perimeter of the park. This also allowed me to see areas of the park I haven’t visited in years as well as a few areas I have never visited at all!

Wetlands Viewing Deck at Highbanks Metro Park
Some of my friends would see this a merely a suggestion!
Adena burial mound at Highbanks Metro Park

Ultimately, I was able to get back around the park to my “finish line” in a respectable 1 hour, 41 minutes. I was genuinely more excited to be done and able to say I earned my chocolate than I was in running the actual event!

The finished product! 15k at Highbanks

How SWEET it is!

By now, I’m hopeful that you’ve figured out how excited I was/am to be able to FINALLY complete my first-ever Hot Chocolate event. Even though this version was virtual, I still had a lot of fun with it. A huge part of that was the medal that participants earn for completing their event. When I received the swag bag earlier in the week, I did not realize coming into this that the medal opens and there is a piece of chocolate inside! That was a very welcome surprise and one that made finishing the distance that much sweeter. See what I did there?

As I mentioned in my event preview, major props to the event organizers for NOT including a date on any of the swag – medal included!

SWEETEST medal I’ve ever earned!
Holy hidden chocolate, Batman!

And yes, you better believe I destoyed that piece of chocolate immediately after finishing my run!

Fast forward to the present and I’m excited to get my chance to participate in a Hot Chocolate event – even if it’s virtual. Earlier this week, I received my goodie bag for THIS year’s event and the race organizers really knocked it out of the park! I completely forgot about the Knockaround shades being a part of the Goodie Bag this year, which made for a fantastic surprise. And speaking of the jacket – while I do enjoy my 2015 version, this year’s edition is a definite upgrade!

pxl_20210413_015811929
The Goodie Bag – complete with chocolate!

Participants could upload their time to the results page AND download a completion certificate

All and all, I really enjoyed my experience participating in my first official Hot Chocolate event. A lot of running events out there are much more focused on the distance(s) or the social experiences. For me though, this event was really about a very particular piece of swag – the chocolate! This event doesn’t exist without chocolate and the swag bag wouldn’t be complete without it either. From the chocolate in the medal to the packs of hot chocolate mix, those are the little touches that took this virtual event to the next level for me – even if I would have received the same items at an in-person event. Regardless, I had a great time running around one of my favorite local spots and had the opportunity to celebrate with some chocolate – doesn’t get much better than that!


The Detroit Hot Chocolate 15k/5k may be over, but you can still participate! Use code BRHC20 when you register for YOUR Hot Chocolate virtual event and snag a free Hot Chocolate branded hat

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