This weekend's Hot Chocolate Run in downtown Phoenix is a sweet treat | Phoenix New Times

Phoenix runners get sweet rewards this weekend at the Hot Chocolate Run

Get a little exercise and a lot of sugar at Sunday's race.
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Chocolate isn’t usually associated with fitness. But there's an annual event in Phoenix that pairs a workout with a bit of sweet indulgence.

This year's Hot Chocolate Run happens in downtown Phoenix on Sunday, Dec. 17. Participants can choose from a 15K, 10K or 5K race.

The event isn't specific to Phoenix; it started in Chicago in 2008 and has grown to include 17 other cities across the U.S.

"The energy felt on the ground during each run in each city is palpable and only gets better each year," race director Lou Seal says. "We’re excited to continue into 2024 and run with our communities across the country."

When participants pick up their race-day packet, they get chocolate and marshmallow samples, running gear and supplements. After the race, runners get to enjoy a post-race party with a DJ stage, branded merchandise and endless chocolate treats. Runners 21 and over can also indulge in a Caramellow Salted Caramel Whiskey or a refreshing Lumberjack Oatmeal Maple Amber Beer from San Tan Brewing.

The point of the Hot Chocolate Run is to have fun, but it also helps a good cause.

"We are partnering with The Special Olympics to help spread the transformative power and joy of participation, education and leadership in sport for those with disabilities," says Seal. "We love to make a positive impact on each community we run through, and this year we’re celebrating inclusivity for all types of athletes. Each participant is given the option to donate to Special Olympics during registration, but there are also opportunities to donate at the run through tear-off tabs on running bibs and Special Olympics volunteers collecting donations on-site."

To register, visit the Hot Chocolate Run website; the cost to sign up is $64 for the 5K, $74 for the 10K and $84 for the 15K. The 5K begins at 7:25 a.m. and the 10K and 15K start at 8:25 at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, 1700 W. Washington St.

The day before the race, on Dec. 16, runners and the general public are invited to the Hot Chocolate Expo, which will be held in the Pueblo Room at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 100 N. First St., from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Race participants can pick up their race-day packet, and the public can enjoy activities for all ages and chocolate samples.

The organizers are excited to bring this unique event to Phoenix, and Seal says with each city they visit comes a special, distinctive feeling from both the participants and the environment itself.

"Sixteen years in the running (pun intended) and 10 years being a part of it myself, The Hot Chocolate Run Series has witnessed millions of participants of all fitness levels joining a community that celebrates exercise, their city’s scenic charm, and a collective love of chocolate," he says.
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