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Runners Prepare for Local Hot Chocolate 5k


A mugful of hot chocolate sits on a trail that thousands run on every year. The Hot Chocolate Run is an annual choice of a 5k or 25k and is hosted by the insurance company, Allstate. (Photo by Pavan Kolluru)

By Connor Peper, North Star Reporter

Few things would make running in freezing temperatures worth it except maybe a nice cup of hot chocolate. That is the purpose of the Hot Chocolate Run, “America’s sweetest race”.

“All finishers, from top to bottom, get hot chocolate, a medal and a care package,” Rana Shaker, a sophomore who will be competing in the race for the first time said. “You just have to finish the race.”

The race offers a five kilometer run and a 10 kilometer run. The St. Louis race is on Nov. 24 and set in Forest Park.

“I just want to stay on track with my running,” Shaker said. “Last year I stopped running after cross country, and that didn’t help me during track season. I just thought that by running [the race] my endurance will stay up and my speed will increase.”

Since the Hot Chocolate Run’s 2008 inaugural run in Chicago, it has had over 200,000 participants with runs in 24 cities from San Francisco to Charlotte. A 5k run is longer than three miles. That doesn’t scare Lilian Cash, another sophomore and first time Hot Chocolate Run racer.

“I’ll be doing the 5k because that’s what I’m used to,” Cash said. “I’m currently still going to [off-season] cross country practices. The past few months I’ve had consistent practice and I’ve already been doing 5ks so I’m pretty used to them.”

The frigid cold presents a change of environment compared to the races one would expect in the summer or spring, a change competitors will have to adapt to.

“The air is very thin so it’s harder to breathe and your heart constricts,” Shaker said. “What I do is wear a lot of layers, two layers of pants and three layers on top. It hurts your ears when the wind is whooshing, so I cover my ears.”