Guess who signed up for more chocolate? This guy 👆
YES, I’m going back to Charlotte, North Carolina to run the Hot Chocolate 15K race on the 20th February 2021.
I’ve ran this race twice now – and had I known how 2020 was going to turn out I wouldn’t have skipped it last January. I was thinking I had enough races in my calendar. Anyway…
As usual, I opted to have my race swag mailed to me for an extra fee. This saves me having to stress about getting down to the EXPO on time (since it’s usually on the Friday). I’ll still plan to visit it if I can, but since I’ll have my bib already, it’s not a big deal if I can’t.
Well, lookey here! I know I’d blogged a while back that I was only promoting this race as I wasn’t able to travel on race weekend.
Just recently the race organizers had to make the call to convert the race to virtual only. This is obviously disappointing for them, the city and many runners, but for people like myself who weren’t able to travel, it allows us to participate AND GET ALL THE BLING!
If you had already signed up, you have a few options:
Run the race virtually.
Defer to 2021, 2022, or 2023 events.
Donate your registration to charity.
Or request a full refund (minus some fees and charges).
The Hapalua is the largest Half Marathon in Hawaii. There are around 10,000 runners and walkers who participate! That’s one big race and all in such a beautiful location!
Unfortunately, due to covid-19, the The Hapalua has been canceled this year. If you were registered to run, all entry fees for the 2020 Hapalua will be honored for the April 11, 2021 Hapalua.
I was fortunate to spend a little time in Hawaii last summer and get amazing some runs in. I already take excessive amounts of photos during a normal run, but running there took it to a whole new level.
We spent a week on Maui when we visited, and we talk quite often about going back in the future. Maybe next time we go to O’ahu and run the Hapalua!
Check out the course below. I can just imagine the warm air and views of the sea the whole way around! Just like that half marathon I ran in Ireland, except for the cold wind, grey skies and gale force winds — and severe lack of palm trees. 😉
(Excuse me while I go google for software development jobs in Hawaii…)
It’s hard to believe, but the course is fairly flat, with a couple of small hills toward the end. There is even music stations at a few points on the course — I love it when races have live bands along the course. It always brings a smile to my face.
Just imagine spending a few recovery days here after completing the race. This is the small beach that was in front of our accommodation. Sea turtles would swim up and sleep here at night.
If you do decide to go and run The Hapalua, make sure you pack your snorkel gear along with your running shoes.
Who runs 2.5 miles, eats one dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and then runs another 2.5 miles to the finish — all within an hour? Not this guy…
You see, I already learnt my lesson. I just can’t eat that many doughnuts. I tried the challenge a few years ago and could only manage nine doughnuts before I’d had enough.
So this year I grabbed my box, ate two, then pushed through the crowds and ran on. In the same period, my daughter consumed five doughnuts. I’m saying nothing.
I run this race for the buzzing atmosphere, for the people in ridiculous costumes, and for the puddles-of-puke obstacle course. It’s also for a great cause, with the proceeds going to North Carolina Children’s hospital.
There was one guy, back on the course after the doughnut stop, still trying to swallow multiple doughnuts that he’d crammed in his mouth. He was running with a group of friends. I heard his friend encourage him, “Think about the kids!”, as he continued to gag.
There was two lads in a horse costume, the guy at the back running completely in the dark. I heard someone shout, “any chance of a ride?”. I bet they’d heard this a dozen times throughout the race, but they replied in good humor, “Sure, hop on! It can’t get any worse!”
One other memory is of a poor guy in a Care Bear suit. I was actually worried about him. His face was pained, red faced and he was breathing real loud and heavy. I had doubts he’d make it, but he survived. I saw him at the end.
Disclaimer: I’m promoting the 2019 World Refugee Day 5K Virtual Run as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!
This race is so special. When I heard about the World Refugee Day 5K and the story behind it I really wanted to be involved.
The World Refugee Day 5k virtual run is inspired by the World Refugee Day 5k run that has taken place in Uganda’s Nakivale Refugee Settlement for three years.
The only requirement to enter that race is to submit an idea – any idea to better their community and lift each other up.
Due to lack of funding, the Nakivale Refugee Settlement race was at risk of being dropped. That’s where Soul Focus comes in. They felt they could not let this race fade away. The youth of the Nakivale Refugee Settlement had reported that the race helps them to feel alive, to stay fit, active and positive amidst the daily challenges they face.
So, our good friends at Soul Focus have helped to create a virtual run, where YOU can join in on the fun and help support this very real and life-changing event.
This June 20th, the third annual World Refugee Day 5k in Nakivale Refugee Settlement will unite over 1,000 runners, from 13 different nations all headed for the finish line. Refugees, Ugandans and friends from all over the world come together to celebrate what’s possible. This one of a kind run shines a light on an often forgotten place, telling a story of hope and ideas, optimism and peace.
It’s not too late to register and run your 5K (use code BR5 for $5 OFF registration). I will be running my 5K on Wednesday, June 19th.
Disclaimer: I’m promoting the Tar Heel 10 Miler & Fleet Feet Sports 4 Miler as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!
I was really looking forward to this race.
I don’t care that rain and thunderstorms are forecast. I’ve never had to bow out of a race before. It sucks to be sitting here writing this blog post in my AirCast boot.
In 2018 I volunteered to help at one of the aid stations. It was a great experience, watching all the runners going past. Seeing the spread of runners was amazing to me — from the leaders of the pack to those running very happily along at the back. The atmosphere was so good and I was so excited when the opportunity came along to run it for BibRave in 2019.
But I’m injured.
I had to go and get injured about 7 weeks before my marathon in March, and then continue to train and run the marathon with the injury. I’d put quite a bit of effort in to that point and didn’t want to quit.
I’m not sure I recommend this approach. When I did eventually visit the doctor, about a week after the marathon, I was diagnosed with Peroneal Tendonitis in my right foot. Fortunately it was not a fracture, or something like the dreaded Plantar Fasciitis. My peroneal tendon should recover 100%, as long as I can wear the boot for 30 days.
Back To The Race.
I have friends running it, and other friends that are volunteering, and post-injury I had planned to be there as well, just to take photos and provide support, but I can’t get my boot wet. 😦
So I will be at home, wishing I were caught up in the buzz, running 10 miles through the streets of Chapel Hill, conquering Laurel Hill at mile 8, and rolling into the finish with a smile on my face.
Next year. I will be there, next year.
Let’s hear from You.
If you ran the race this year, do let us know your thoughts by writing a review on bibrave.com. Did you run the 4 miler, the 10 miler, or the DOUBLE?!
Disclaimer: I received free entry to The Tar Heel 10 Miler & Fleet Feet Sports 4 Mile Run 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!
Last year I volunteered at this race. This year I’m running it for the first time. I’ve heard so much about the Tar Heel 10 Miler and I know people who have ran it, and all they talk about Laurel Hill. More about that later. 👇
There is two races on the same day — a 10 mile run and a 4 mile run, but there’s three options when registering. You can sign up for either race OR you can sign up for both, which is known as the “Double Down 14 Mile Challenge”.
Those selecting the Double Down challenge will need to complete the 4 mile race before the 10 mile race starts, to stay in the challenge. 😲
I have signed up for the 10 mile race and I’m looking forward to running around and exploring Chapel Hill, a thriving student city in North Carolina.
I’ve been to Chapel Hill many times as my oldest son goes to University there, but I’m still not familiar with the layout of downtown. There’s nothing like a run to fix that.
The course looks amazing and there’s a good mix of downtown streets, parks and neighborhoods. I’m looking forward to this one. Hopefully I actually still enjoy running, after my marathon in March. 🤣
Laurel Hill Challenge
At mile 8.5 of the Tar Heel 10 miler is Laurel Hill. You’ll ascend 175 feet in just under one mile. Runners are encouraged to race UP the hill, as separate awards are given for the fastest times to the top!
I really hope to get out to Chapel Hill and make peace with this hill before race day. I think I can get a couple of my running buddies to sign up and train with me.
Represent Your School
If you’re local you can even represent your school and help get it to the top of the scoreboard! The top 3 schools registered (you select a school when registering if applicable) will get a t-shirt in their school colors. That is pretty neat!
Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k race 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 second year running the Hot Chocolate 15k in Charlotte (read about first year here). What better way to kick off this review with a big picture of the hot chocolate bowl packed with goodies for dipping. It ain’t called the Hot Chocolate 15k for nothing!
As I mentioned in my pre-race post, I couldn’t get out of work on time to reach the Expo, so I had Liz’s and my pack mailed out to us – this is such an excellent service. The packs arrived a couple of weeks before the race, and just like last year, the race shirts are amazing.
The post-race party venue was changed to First Ward Park this year, which also moved the start and finish lines. The new party location was much better. It was much more accessible, and better laid out.
Another improvement this year was the addition of some hot food. And it was so delicious. Liz and I grabbed some and stood under a toasty gas heater and chatted to some other runners for a while.
The race course changed this year. We ran outside the city (much like last year), except we used some greenway (paved trails) this time to move between neighborhoods. The Charlotte neighborhoods reminded very much of Durham, North Carolina.
I felt like the new course was also hillier than last year. When I compared the elevation gain to last years on Strava, it was indeed hillier, but not by a crazy amount.
There were plenty of aid stations on course, serving water, sports drink and chocolate! Thankfully there were porta-johns near each station, as I had to make a stop at mile 2 — and that is when I lost my 8:30/mi pacer. 😦
I came in around 3 minutes later than last year. I was hoping to see an improvement, but it wasn’t to be.
The medals were different this year. Previously every Hot Chocolate medal was the same, regardless of the city that hosted it. There was an additional “charm” added to the medal to identify the city. This year they incorporated the city name into the medal itself.
Race photos again this year were free — which is super! Who doesn’t love free race photos. I didn’t see many photographers on the course except near the finish. I don’t always look my best at the finish line. 😉
While it was free to download low-res versions of the photos, there was a $2.99 charge to download high-res copies. That is still good bang for your buck if you consider what other races charge for photos.
Liz and I stayed at the AC Hotel Charlotte City Center. It was a lovely hotel, with a fantastic rooftop bar and was only a couple of blocks from First Ward Park. I’d definitely stay there again, whether I’m racing Hot Chocolate, or just want a short city break.
There were a few other BibRave Pros racing Hot Chocolate Charlotte this year, so we all got together before the race to catch-up and take a group photo. Just look at all that Orange!
Disclaimer: I received free entry to Hot Chocolate 15k 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!
I can’t believe this race has come around so quickly again. I remember running this in February last year like it was yesterday. It was my first race away from home, and I didn’t know the landscape at all, so I wasn’t sure what to expect in the form of hills, etc.
This year, my wife Liz is not only coming with me, but she will be running the 5k race, which starts 15 mins before I line up for the 15k. I think Liz loved the race swag I received so much last year she had to sign up. 😉
We were unable to get to the Expo this year because of work responsibilities, but fortunately we were able to have our bibs and race shirts shipped to us in advance. While it costs a few dollars more, it’s worth it for us being far away.
The race course and starting location have changed for 2019, so we’re staying in a different hotel, fairly close to the starting line in First Ward Park. It shouldn’t be anything more than a short walk in the morning to reach it.
The temperature is a little chilly at 46f, and some rain is expected. I’m just hoping it’s not heavy rain. Last year rain was also forecast, but by the time the race started the rain stopped.
15k is a nice distance (just under 10 miles). The last time I ran this race I had not yet raced a half marathon, so I was a little anxious. This time I have lots more experience and feel more confident. Also, my training for the race has gone well, especially since it’s in the middle of my training for a full marathon.
What I’m not sure about is if I can beat last years PR! 😉
I am looking forward to catching up with all the other bibrave pros as well.
On a cold, crisp October morning, a few friends and I headed into Durham, NC for the Bull City Race Fest Half Marathon.
It was my fourth half marathon (1-Tobacco Road; 2-Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh; 3-Umstead Half) this year and to be honest, I wasn’t feeling in good shape for it — not compared to my fitness levels back in March. Training through the summer in North Carolina was not easy with the constant humidity.
My running buddy, Zach, had ran the course a couple of years back, his first half marathon in fact, and confirmed all the reports I’d been hearing of its hills. I’d only ran the 5 mile course before and was looking forward to the half.
I’ve never really been deterred from entering a race because of hills. I simply adjust my expectations based on it.
Zach had yet to run a half marathon in under two hours, so my plan was to run a steady pace together and push him to a PR. After our hilly half marathon at Umstead, back in June, I knew this may not be easy (for me!).
The race started according to our plan. For the first mile we hovered in around 9:00/mi. If we kept this up and we’ll rock in just under the goal time.
I checked my watch at Mile 2 — 8:40/mi. We probably need to slow down a little bit, we thought. Nope, miles 3-6 flew by easy at the same pace. Yikes! We were going too fast! We were too concerned about catching up with AJ, who shot off like a rocket at the start.
At mile 6 we eventually caught up with AJ. That’s when the first of the hills started rolling in. Mile 7, while not the toughest hill-wise, was our slowest at 9:04/mi, but all was still good. Runners are always doing the math in their heads. We had time to spare.
My fueling plan was the usual, Gatorade Endurance gel pack every 45 mins, and a drink of water at every other aid station. This didn’t go exactly to plan.
I waited a little too long for the first gel pack which maybe explains mile 7. There were some hills during the last third of the course, so I took another one around mile 9.
Mile 9 is when I usually start to suffer in a half marathon, but this time I didn’t feel that. I felt much stronger than normal. The last third of the course hardly slowed our efforts at all. Maybe all that training in North Carolina’s humidity prepared me for this after all?
Again, doing the math, we rocked into mile 10 with big grins on our faces. We knew we had this race in the bag. It would take a really bad 5K now to miss our goal time.
In a final what the heck moment, I consumed an additional gel at mile 12 for the last stretch!
The course kept throwing hills at us in the last couple of miles, but my last two miles were my fastest on the course. I kept my eyes on the prize — the cold beverages at the end.
A lot of our team walked away with HUGE PRs — #breaking2 baby! 😉 Did Zach and I smash our goal? Of course we did! We came in well under the 2 hour goal. Turned out to be my 2nd fastest half marathon after Tobacco Road.
I’m so happy about that. It definitely helped me overcome my summer training slump and restored some confidence as I reach for bigger goals next year.