How to be prepared for the Hot Chocolate Run!

Are you running a Hot Chocolate 5K or 15K soon? These races are a LOT of fun! Here is everything you need to know to have a great time. The details provided here is based off information provided from the organizers at Ram Racing and my previous Hot Chocolate race experiences. 

unnamedThe organizers of the Hot Chocolate race series, Ram Racing, are really great about pre-race communication. As the race date gets closer, they will email event specific announcements and information to you, along with your registration confirmation, so be on the look out for those emails. 

Packet Pick Up / Expo

Hot Chocolate is a little different in that they do not allow you do pick up your packet on the day of the race. It makes race morning much smoother, but requires that you plan ahead. This is the norm for a lot of longer races, but not for shorter distances like the 5K. The only way around this is select “mail my packet” when you are registering and they will mail your packet to you a week before the race.

Visiting the race expo is a lot of fun. One of my favorite things is checking out new running gear & great discounts from some of the vendors. Even those not running can take advantage of this! The Hot Chocolate expos are particularly fun because there is chocolate!!! You can get your chocolate fix started early. Last year they also had an area where you could make cheer signs too which was a lot of fun. 

Photo Feb 27-3

Once you get to the expo, in order to pick up your race bib and swag bag, you must have your registration confirmation. This is emailed to you a few days before the event. A friend can pick up your bib/swag bag for you if they have a copy of your registration confirmation. 

Here are the details for the expo in Seattle:
Seattle Center Exhibition Hall
305 Harrison St, Seattle, Washington 98109

Friday, March 4th, 2016 – 12pm to 6pm
Saturday, March 5th, 2016 – 9am to 5pm

To see expo info for your specific race, visit

Start Times

There are separate start times for the 5K and the 15K. Be sure to double check what time your race starts and keep this in mind if you are traveling with someone running a different distance. 

As with any race, plan on arriving early. The Hot Chocolate race is a corral start, so you will need time to park, walk to the start area and find your corral.

The times for the Seattle race are as follows: 
5K – 6:45am
15K – 7:55am 
In Seattle, the race starts in the Seattle Center. There is parking close (see below) but you still have to walk a ways to the start area, so be sure to give enough time for that. 

To see start times for your specific race, visit

Parking/Traffic on Race Day

This information is specific to Seattle. Ram Racing does a great job at providing this information for all their race locations. Visit for parking information specific to your race. They will most likely send you an email before the race with this information as well. 
From RAM Racing:  The Mercer St exit both Northbound and Southbound will be highly congested. (they were VERY congested last year, almost a complete stop, so much so I thought I might miss the start line) Consider he following alternatives:
  • Southbound – Pass the Mercer Street exit and exit at Exit 166 (Stewart St. / Denny Way) and approach Seattle Center via Denny Way or exit at Exit 167 (Union St) and approach Seattle Center northbound through downtown.
  • Northbound – Exit the freeway prior to Mercer Street and exit at Exit 164A (Dearborn St. / James St. / Madison St.) or Exit 165 (Seneca St.) and approach Seattle Center through downtown.

Parking Garage: Race day parking at Seattle Center will be available at the Mercer Street Parking Garage, the 5th Avenue North Parking Garage and the 1st Avenue North Parking Garage. Parking will be $15 per car. There are numerous other parking options in the area. Here’s a map of additional garages.City parking is also available on the streets, just be sure to check all signage, I got a ticket last time 🙁


The signature chocolate fondue that you get when you complete the race is what Hot Chocolate is famous for!  Guess what? You don’t have to wait until the end of the race to start enjoying chocolate! There are chocolate/sweet stations on the course. In the past there have been tootsie rolls and chocolate chips. This year they have added marshmallows! There will be plenty of aid stations on course as well stocked with water and sports drink. There will be 1 on the 5k course, and 4 on the 15k course.IMG_0613

Runner Tracking

RAM Racing uses a really nice timing system for both race distances. There is no chip to put on your shoe, all the timing is done via your bib, so make sure you are wearing it correctly and that it is visible. Thru this timing system, you friends and family can sign up to get updates while you run. Whether they are meeting you at the finish line, or keeping track via their warm bed, these updates are great to keep people in the loop.

There is an option for them to get free updates via Facebook, Twitter or text message as you cross specific points on the course. All you have to do is set it up: 
• Visit
• Select the runners you would like to receive updates on and how (Facebook, Twitter, or text)
• Expect updates on race day!

It’s super easy and a great way for people to cheer you on from afar or to make sure you can meet up with people after the race. 79b1e79735837f608c902ca8629e282a


That’s it!! All that’s left to do is run for the chocolate!!!! I’ll see you at the finish line!


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