Denver Hot Chocolate 15K
I grew up in Ohio and Indiana, and ran a number of races in Indianapolis, pancake-flat hub of the Midwest. This reminded me of that, just at a mile high. I hadn’t done one of these runs in a long time – masses of people, fast pace, city streets, over-indulgent snacks at the finish. Done every once in a while, this is fun. I only found this race because I did a search for 15K events. It’s long been my favorite distance, and I wish there were more of them. So I signed up.
Like the Rock-n-Roll series, the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K has races in multiple cities across North America, many of which never get cold enough to warrant hot chocolate. Still, paired with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, it’s for a good cause. Plus, the giant inflatable “Marsha” and “Mello,” and the hot chocolate “hot tub” ball pit at the finish are fun for everyone.
Race morning was cool and cloudy, but the sun was breaking through. I drove down to Denver from Loveland, and left around 6:15am. Ate my traditional Clif bar breakfast on the go. When I parked in Denver a handful of blocks from the start, the temperature was 50-degrees. I decided to go with split shorts, short sleeves, and no gloves. Potentially risky if the wind picked up, but it was supposed to be nearing 60-degrees within an hour.
I made the right choice. The sun came out and the wind stayed calm. My first mile was a little fast (7:07), but I settled into a pace between 7:22 and 7:35. Mile 6 was a little slow, but I managed to average 7:25 overall and 3rd in my age group. The whole thing reminded me so much of my post-graduate-school days in the Midwest. The kind of running that would get boring to me day in and day out, but that I really enjoyed on a one-off fall morning.
I much prefer locally owned/run events; these series races can feel a little generic. But the volunteers were great, and the weather was perfect. Thanks, Denver!