Hot Chocolate Chicago 15K

Warm and dry (for October)
15K Run
1:40:25 - 10:47 Minutes/Mile


After a great year of racing this was my season ending race and I had just one goal, run the race injury free. This is the third year in a row I have run the 15K version of this race and the last two years I had either back problems of plantar fasciitis. This year I really change my perspective and decided that I would only train as hard as could without injury. It has certainly resulted in some slower times, but, the enjoyment factor has been much higher than any other year of racing.

This race has always been kind of special because I always have some of my kids running it with me which was no differnet this year. The weather was picture perfect with morning temps in the 40's climbing to the low 50's.

We arrived farily early, as we usually do, and made our way to corrals B and C. One note about this race is that it is typically HUGE with anywhere from 20K to 40K runners. The start is divided into different corrals each starting several minutes apart. If you find yourself in one of the later corrals, it could be a long wait to start. If you run this race, do yourself a favor and be sure to enter your estimated start time and request a priority corral (that is of course only if you have a qualifying run time).


If you live in the Chicago area, you should definately make the Hot Chocolate one of your bucket list races. It is extremely family friendly and caters to all types of runners from sprinters to walkers. As usual, the race was well organized with plenty of support and aid stations along the way. There are always plenty of porta potties on and off the course which is a HUGE convenience.

Year over year the course remains mostly the same starting with a jaunt under ground, then emerging under the "L" tracks, continuing South towards IIT before turning back North for a tour of the old McCormick place and Soldier field. Always a great backdrop for a race with plenty of scenery to distract from the fact that you are running hard and in a bit of pain.

My only criticism is that over the years, the quality of the chocolate at the aid stations has gone down. I think it used to be sponsored by Ghirardelli and no longer is, so, this year, they were handing out handfuls of raw chocolate nuggets (for lack of a better term) from large boxes which seemed slightly disgusting. So, despite the namesake of the race, I skipped the chocolate part.

Hot Chocolate Chicago
Columbus Drive After Race Corral Tear Down

What Went Wrong

What Went Right

Final Thoughts

Although this is a great run through Chicago and organized very well, it is probably our last year as we have grown tired of the crowds and effort level it takes just to get to the start line. We are hoping to maybe run a half marathon at the end of next year at a much smaller venue.