America's Sweetest Race Encourages Chocoholics to Get Moving on Dec. 9

Don't like to work out unless there's a sweet reward at the end? Boy, do we have a mini-marathon for you. At the Hot Chocolate Race, participants in the 5k or 15k earn a steaming hot mug of delicious cocoa at the finish line. Thanks to scientific research, chocolate milk is now all the rage as an optimal post-workout beverage -- proof that there's nothing better to end a wintry run than warming it up and tossing in some marshmallows. Runners and walkers will also enjoy a post-race party complete with apples, bananas, pretzels, and crisped rice treats to dip into silky smooth chocolate fondue.

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This sweet race starts and ends at Salt River Fields, beginning at 7:30 to 8 a.m. on Sunday, December 9. The event began in Chicago 10 years ago and is now held in eight states; this will be its inaugural year in Scottsdale. In 2012, RAM Racing's Hot Chocolate Races have raised over $360,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities. All proceeds from the local race will go to the Ronald McDonald House program of Phoenix and to Salt River Community Children's Foundation.

In addition to two kinds of chocolate, all participants will receive a black water-resistant running jacket emblazoned with the Hot Chocolate Race logo. Registration is $45 for the 5k, or $65 for the 15k, and both runners and walkers are expected to keep a minimum pace of 15 minutes per mile.

Volunteers are also needed to help set up the event and keep things running smoothly. Don't want to volunteer? Become a Chocolate Ambassador to earn prizes for registering a certain number of people: 25 earns free entry to the race; 100, a free pair of shoes; 250, a $250 Visa gift card; 500, an iPad; and 1000, an RV day with a personal chef and the Hot Chocolate boys. All that's required is enthusiasm and a love of chocolate.

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Dominique Chatterjee