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Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Will Not Return to National Harbor
After a disastrous race debut last year, DC was kept off the list of participating cities this year. By Melissa Romero
Comments () | Published November 8, 2012

Local runners might remember the disastrous Hot Chocolate 15K/5K race at National Harbor last year—or maybe they’ve blocked it from memory by now. Well, it appears the race organizers would like to forget the fiasco, too, since DC has been left off the list of participating cities this year.

On Twitter, local triathlete Victoria Anderson directed us to this year’s lineup of the eight US cities holding the annual Hot Chocolate 15K/5K. Any Washingtonian who wants to race will have to travel to seven hours to Columbus, Ohio, the nearest participating city. 

In case you forgot, last year’s race at National Harbor suffered a host of problems, leading angry participants to later call it a “hot chocolate mess.” Runners complained of the terrible traffic, the delayed start time, the poor directions on the course, and, worst of all, no hot chocolate at the finish line.

Runners were even more infuriated after race organizers blamed the long lines and delays on traffic accidents. We received multiple traffic reports from WTOP, which made no mention of any accidents. Prince George’s County Police Department also had no reports of accidents.

And it appears as if other cities continue to have issues with the race, too. A Well+Being commenter from Chicago recently had this to say about the November 4 race: 

“The Chicago race this year was probably worse than what you described. They have not been able to post correct times, (4/7 people I knew who ran have wrong or no time); no phone to contact. Unable to view from anywhere as a spectator at the start and very difficult to get to finish line with very limited access. Incredibly poor organization who is running it, and not having learned from prior mistakes makes it even worse. USATF should seriously look at RAM and consider not allowing them to sponsor races.”

We double-checked with organizers, RAM Racing, to find out why DC was left off this year’s list and received the following response:

“Thank you for your e-mail and your interest in Hot Chocolate 15/5k! Unfortunately we were not able to schedule DC this year, hopefully we will be able to in the future! Please keep checking the website for announcements of additional cities! Thank you! We hope to see you soon at a Hot Chocolate 15/5k event!”

We want to know your thoughts. Are you glad the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K won’t be coming back to DC? Or would a second chance have made up for last year? Let us know in the comments section.


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  • Keith in nj

    I have been constantly emailing about hotel accomodations in Philadelphia. I signed up months ago. They said watch the website. Last week they finally posted that rooms are available at the Philly airport hoterl 7.8 miles form the starting line.I asked if the there was shuttle service and no one got back to me. So now I will have to drive 60 miles to center city philly the morning of the race and be at the starting line at 8 am. The race is in 3 weeks and there is still no location for the bib pick up. I am going to just say that this was a waste of $60 and be done with it. should not allow races like this to list on their website. This is a disgrace.

  • Walking Tom

    How can we get to quit listing ANY race put on by RAM?

  • Runner

    RAM a should stand for run amok. Or really awful marathon.

  • Runner

    Never run a race with RAM. The lack of professionalism, boardering on negligence, will leave you disappointed or angry, or both. Check out the lack of accountability, where they blame everyone else. To compare themselves to NYC marathon is laughable. RAM couldn't organize a run to the potty.

  • Mike G

    They did however finally answer the Better Business Bureau Report and even managing to compare their situation to that of the New York Marathon in wake of the Super Storm:

    BBB CASE#: 94379697

    Ram racing is deeply sorry for the bad experience that not only you had, but also many other runners at DC's Hot Chocolate race. It certainly did not live up to our standards. Every running event has different unique issues that have to be dealt with that cannot be planned or envisioned in advance. While Ram definitely should be blamed for the event problems, National Harbor promised that the space could handle the course, parking and logistics of such an event. National Harbor also dealt with all management of expo and race day parking including money. While the course mix up ultimately has to come down on RAM, the Washington DC police were in charge of being the lead cars. Everyone is going to follow the police and not listen to any staff trying to direct the racers onto the real race course. National Harbor, City of DC, and police department are the ones that ultimately approve the course as well as how many people can run the race. When you register for any special event, there is a strict no refund policy due to the nature of such events. This policy had to be looked at and accepted before registration could be processed. The New York marathon this year offered no refund for an event that did not even have a chance to be run.

    Thank you

    Patrick McInerney
    Participant Experience
    RAM Racing

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Posted at 04:20 PM/ET, 11/08/2012 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Blogs