Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Laughlin/Bullhead 1/2 Marathon and 5K 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!
This was my first time at a Hot Chocolate 15K race. I was really impressed that there were multiple days/times for packet pickup, and understand completely why there was no morning of pickup. This race is popular! I couldn’t believe the sea of people in all directions.
Instead of a bunch of random stuff in a swag bag, the Hot Chocolate race gives you a gear bag with a nice, zip up jacket inside. I also used a code to get an additional multi-use wrap, which was an excellent addition!
The parking lot was a little walk from the starting area, but not too bad considering it was freezing and the walk helped warm me up! The parking was easy to find and very well directed by race staff and volunteers. There were a lot of people, and we were able to get into the lot relatively quickly.
Finding the way to the starting area was also well marked and directed by volunteers. There were many portapotties, so there was a very short wait for the bathroom regardless of the large number of racers.
The startline was broken into corrals based on assigned paces, which were gathered during the registration process. Volunteers checked each assigned corral letter which was located on the race bib, and made sure that each person was in the correct corral or later. This is extremely helpful for those people looking to PR, and wanting to start off in an earlier corral.
Each corral was released in waves, allowing for the many thousands of people to spread out safely before the next corral was released. We were in corral K (10:30 pace) which required a few minutes of wait time, but it went quickly and was very organized.
The course itself was flat, with 2 portions that included out and backs. While it wasn’t the most scenic course, there were many aid stations strategically placed and each had a different sweet treat, ranging from marshmallows to M&Ms as well as water and Gatorade.
At the end of the course, you took your ticket and went to wait in a line for a finisher’s mug. The plastic mug contained a cup of hot chocolate, chocolate fondue and a variety of items to dip in the chocolate. The line went quickly, and the music and atmosphere was great.
The medals are amazing. Heavy, high quality and well worth the run! The course was flat and fun, and great time!
One recommendation would be to make sure there is a water bottle for each finisher, as those coming across towards the end did not receive one. All in all, this was a fantastic race and I look forward to running it again!