Hot Chocolate 5K Chicago: Race Report

As a Group 2 stalwart I’ve often wondered what goes on in the other training groups.

Do they exchange training tips, praise the latest running shoes?

Thanks to Chris Parkin‘s race report (from the terrifically named Hot Chocolate 5k Chicago race), I now know Group 4 is the place to be.


Hot Chocolate 5K Chicago: 8th November 2015


I have been very fortunate over the last few years that my job has taken me all over the world. However An inherent natural level of dis-organisation nearly made me write a piece a few months ago about places I have visited and great runs I have missed whilst there – the 40,000 strong Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago, the 15,000 strong Mother’s Day Run in Melbourne and countless Parkruns in exotic places.


 However work again brought me back to Chicago so off to Google I went. Amazingly the fantastically named Hot Chocolate Run came up on the weekend I was there. This reminded me of a conversation I had had a few years ago with Run Geordie Run (Mark) who back then trained with the club. He bounced between Groups 3 and 4 and explained to me one night that whilst Group 3 was great all the talk was about PB’s, split times and recoveries – in Group 4 the main topic of conversation was what we were eating when we got home! On that basis and as probably the longest serving member of Group 4 I went to the relevant website to enter.


Interestingly the race covered 2 distances – either 5k or 15k. As such it was received with much mirth that I announced to the Parkin family that I was entering the 15k race and this would represent an all out assault on the TBH club record – (of course at this stage none of them realised that TBH did not have a recorded 15k time!) – as such I just needed to finish and I was in the record books and from group 4 to boot! The problem with work trips though is the work bit and unfortunately my itinerary meant that even I had displayed Mark Fenwick esq pace I was not going to get around quick enough. As such and with hopes of TBH glory dashed I entered the 5k – for probably the only time ever I was also confident of being the first TBH runner home!


The race itself has 45,000 competitors. An early start of 7.00am saw the strange sight of thousands of runners descending on the start whilst the city was still dark. As always though the atmosphere at these events was great with nervous talk and laughter. The event was brilliantly organised  and for the ladies – virtually no queues at the loos !– I have never seen so many Portaloos


The race itself was great in that it was different running between skyscrapers – the actual running though would be familiar to all – first mile far too fast, the second mile bringing that awful realisation that the first mile was too fast and you still have 2/3rds of the race left and then the purgatory of the last mile while all your head is saying is “please stop”, “ I need to stop” and then of course the words of Coach Dave saying “this is a running club Parkin, not a walking club – move it!” – then mercifully the finish line appears.  Conditions and the course were perfect for a PB, sadly the legs weren’t !


Being America there was no technical t-shirt just a cup of Hot Chocolate and a Chocolate Fondue which tasted fab.


Great to take part though and of course next year brings another opportunity for that record attempt …………………!

Chris with his hot chocolate

Chris with his hot chocolate

Full results can be found here.


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  1. Terrific report Chris, and it’s good to see you hitting the streets rather than the mini-bar ;-)

    1. well done Chris youll travel anywhere to get the bragging rights in the Parkin household

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