Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Hot Chocolate 15k as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro and check out BibRave.com to find and review races! Seriously though, applications are open now for 2018 – apply and join me 🙂
Since registration for the Hot Chocolate 15k in May, to joining the RAM Racing team in July, and being unable to run due to the craziest and most miserable wisdom teeth experience, a lot has happened in the past 6 months.
While I could go on and on about how great this race is and how it will always hold a special place in my heart because it made me fall in love with running back in 2014, I want to give a different view on race production. You see, I work at RAM Racing and have been their Social Media turned Digital Media Manager since July. Prior to working at RAM, I didn’t have any race experience, except for of course, running them. I didn’t realize all of the different components that went into a race and being able to see it from this side, I am able to better review races and look for things that may not make them as professional as a runner would ideally like.
First things first (I was about to say “I’m the realest” but I’ve already used that line and I’m sorry I’m not punny enough to have multiple lines – I’ll work on it), it takes an army to put on a race and while I touch on a few sections of that team, there’s a whole lot of other things I don’t mention. So please keep that in mind while reading.
The Hot Chocolate 15k/5k was designed to be a shakeout run post-marathon held to the highest standards while also being a family-friendly and party – essentially the best of all races brought into one.
The first race took place 10 years ago and this year, we wanted to celebrate that evolution, offering something extra special: the diamond-trimmed medal and diamond-studded keychain. Cheers to the lucky winners that got those items, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous.
In addition to the 10 Year Celebration, we introduced the Legacy Program – an opportunity to recognize those runners that have been around for 3, 5, and 10 years (I actually ran into one of our 10 Year Vets in the post-race party by chance, you go Kathy-girl – 65 and still killing it!) through special swag and call-outs on social.
Both of these programs were rolled out on all digital spaces, including email, social, banner ads, and the website and then had to be executed once race day arrived. It was an exciting opportunity to come in, be able to see this idea come to life, and then see our runners so excited about it.
Key takeaway, marketing is killing it.
On the flip side, you have the operations which is a whole different ball game. While I can’t speak much to the actual planning and organizing leading up to race day, I can say we had a 65 page operational manual going into the weekend with everything and anything you could possibly need to know about set-up, race day, and take-down (we had a 3:30am call-time and yes I’m still recovering but no I’m not complaining because the operations team had days filled of early mornings and late nights). The amount of work that team puts into every single race (18 Hot Chocolate cities and 9 Local Series i.e. Ravenswood, Cinco de Miler, Run Mag Mile, Bucktown 5k, etc.) is incredible.
I won’t get too deep into the weeds here but one of our biggest goals is to have a professional race. This includes corrals by estimated finish time, accurate timing, safe and certified courses – you name it, we’re doing it and personally, I think that’s pretty damn cool, especially considering we are typically shorter distance races, you wouldn’t expect that level of professionalism out of us.
Anyways, I could go on and on about what it takes to put on a race, if you’re interested, hit me up but I know you really only came here for the pictures of the chocolate. So here it is, the coolest thing you will ever get at a post-race party, I guarantee it.
Also, in case you were wondering, every Hot Chocolate city got a personalized city charm for their medal – HOW CUTE IS THAT. Oh and yes, my mother crushed the 15k – you go momma!
Click here to see my full race review about the Hot Chocolate 15k on BibRave!