Fitness, Race Recaps

Everything You Need To Know About The San Diego Hot Chocolate Run

Nothing makes me more excited than seeing so many people registering for the San Diego Hot Chocolate 15k/ 5k. You don’t have to be a “runner” to get out there and be part of this unique race experience. Whether you walk the 5k (3 miles) or run the 15k (9 miles) you are still out there participating in one of the best races of the entire year.

I ran the Hot Chocolate 15k last year with my mom (pictured above) and loved every second of it. The second we finished the race we knew this would be a new annual tradition.This year my sister is coming down from Los Angeles to run with us and possibly my cousin as well. The more the merrier!

Seriously though the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k really is THE BEST run of the entire year.


Well, first of all instead of getting another crappy race t-shirt you get an awesome race jacket. So cute right?


Second, it’s all about chocolate! There is chocolate at the expo, chocolate along the course and chocolate at the race after party…yes please!

This was one of my favorite races I did last year so I wanted to do a post on everything you need to know for this Sunday March 20th so you can have the BEST experience possible!

Haven’t registered? You still can register for either the 15k or 5k here.



The Expo:

  • There is no race day packet pickup. Meaning if you haven’t arranged already for your packet to be mailed you have to attend the expo.
  • Where is the Expo? The expo and the race are NOT in the same place. The expo is at the San Diego Concourse: 202 C Street San Diego, California 92101
  • When is the Expo? You can go to the expo at the following times:
    • Friday 12pm-6pm
    • Saturday 10am-5pm
  • What about parking for the expo? Ugh parking downtown San Diego is always a pain. There is parking available in the garage near the San Diego Concourse at a discounted rate of $5 (THIS IS CASH ONLY!!!!!). You can always try to find street parking at a metered spot but that’s usually very challenging and be sure to bring some coins.
  • Don’t worry about the size you picked for your jacket when you registered! You are allowed to try on all the different sizes at the expo!
  • There is a TON of chocolate at the expo so just be very very careful not to overdo it. Last year I ate way too much and left the expo with a terrible stomach ache. So this year I’m planning on stocking up on goodies then waiting until after the race to indulge haha!


Yes, that’s hot cocoa in the middle of last years expo- they’re not messing around.

Race Day:

  • The races start EARLY! I always like to get to races at least 1 hr before. There will be heavy traffic getting into downtown so plan accordingly.
    • 5k starts at 6:45am
    • 15k starts at 7:40am
  • Where exactly does the race start? The website is confusing and says it is located at Petco park…in reality the race starts and finishes in a lot NEXT TO Petco park. I know it’s kind of hard to see but Petco Park is on the left and the whole race is on the right in a big empty lot.


  • What about parking on race day? Again, GET THERE EARLY! The designated parking lots for the race open up at 5:00am and cost $15 (CASH ONLY). The great thing about this race being on a Sunday is that street parking downtown is FREE. So if you get there early enough I highly recommend trying to find street parking then walking to the race area.
  • There is gear check available from 5:45am-11:00am. Be sure to get your stuff by 11:00am!
  • There are going to be pacers on the course this year! YAY!
  • You are assigned to a specific corral for the start. If you have no idea what corral you’re in you can sign into your RAM Racing account or just check on your bib when you pick it up at the expo. Honestly, unless you’re an elite runner in the first couple corrals it doesn’t really matter where you start

During The Race:

  • There will be chocolate and marshmallows along the course. If you have a sensitive stomach avoid eating this during your run. This map is really hard to read but you can see where the “sweet stations” and water are:


  • Since you’re running through neighborhoods people often camp out in their front yards offering shots of booze, mimosas, coffee and other treats…again people with sensitive stomachs watch those temptations. Last year I almost took a shot of tequila at mile 7 to numb the pain haha.
  • Remember, THIS IS A VERY VERY HILLY RACE! Both the 15k and 5k have some pretty challenging hills so save some energy. Again, sorry these maps are so hard to read.

15k elevation:


5k elevation:



Post Race:

  • CELEBRATE!!!! Last year we got little trays with chocolate fondue, hot cocoa and tons of little goodies to dip into the chocolate. Seriously, heaven!


  • Don’t forget to get your gear from gear check by 11:00am if you used it.
  • And again, celebrate! It doesn’t matter if this is your first race or 785643875647th race…finishing a race is always a huge accomplishment.

For a full list of city’s that have a Hot Chocolate Run visit their website here.

Your Turn,

Are you running the San Diego Hot Chocolate Run on Sunday?

Are you running an upcoming Hot Chocolate Run in your city?

+Photos in this post of race maps and logos are all from


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  • Reply Sarah @ BucketListTummy March 16, 2016 at 7:02 am

    A race with endless chocolate sounds amazing. I love those chocolate bowls!
    Sarah @ BucketListTummy recently posted…Sometimes You Just Need French Fries + Feta Tuna Salad Recipe!My Profile

  • Reply Amanda @ Exploring Life & Things March 16, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Reading this just got me so excited for the Hot Chocolate race I’m running in Minneapolis in a month! It’s funny, I went home last weekend and my mom was wearing a Hot Chocolate race series shirt and I guess she bought a few tops from their online shop haha. We haven’t even raced yet and she’s already sporting some new gear:) hahah

    • Reply Diana Becker March 16, 2016 at 2:14 pm

      The gear they sell at expo is SOOOOOO CUTE! Tons of “Will run for chocolate” shirts, headbands, bags…I’m obsessed. You are going to have the best time- I can’t wait to read about it.

  • Reply Hot Chocolate 15k Race Recap - A Cup of Kellen March 21, 2016 at 3:01 am

    […] excited I was for this next race. I’ve heard amazing things about the Hot Chocolate 15k from Diana so when my boyfriend mentioned he was looking into a 15k, I knew we had to sign […]

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