Hot Chocolate 5K/15K Chicago 2012 Expo Debacle…


I’d like to preface this post with the fact that I honestly don’t like complainers.  I also don’t like to read blog postings constantly slamming events and race management.  The idea of managing and executing a big race is not easy and I fully acknowledge such and give them the appropriate amount of respect slack.  However, as a blogger, I believe I have a bit of a responsibility to tell “the reader” what’s up in the race arena. If we want to “go there”, I run more races in a year than some will ever run in a lifetime. So I know races, I know expos, I know that the only thing to expect is the UNEXPECTED but I too have limits.   So…..

How often does an expo get a post of its very own?  Not often unless one doesn’t have much else to do or say its really amazing or its really, REALLY bad.   Well, congratulations to RAM Racing for pulling a 2nd expo post out of me (I posted on last year’s expo HERE) …… and it wasn’t cuz it was amazing.  In fact, I wouldn’t even know if the 2012 expo were amazing because after I waited in line for 1 hour and 57 minutes OUTSIDE IN THE COLD, on my lunch “hour”, I was no longer amused by the chocolaty theme and just needed to leave.  

The 2012 Hot Chocolate 5K/15K Chicago race called for some changes.  To be honest, I’m not sure I would have registered but my girl, Nicky and I ran last year, we loved it, then spent the afternoon post race downtown bar hopping shopping.  So we she wanted a repeat.  Done.  Let’s do it!  Right? 

WRONG!  Things have gotten off to a bit of a rough start and I’m not even to the race yet.  Pam and I thought we’d pop over to the “new and improved” expo site in a Soldier Field parking lot at LUNCH to grab our packets.  Now, I go ALL THE TIME at lunch to pick up packets and while I won’t necessarily say I manage it all within my lunch “hour”, its usually close enough to make it happen.  Pam and I were excited as we stepped out of the cab:

Hot Choc_2012 w Pam at packet PU

Until we notice this massive line and about 40 port-o-potties lined up on the “other” side of the line.  Say what?  How far does that go down?  Are we really going to need those port-o-potties?

Hot Choc_2012 line 1 How much time do we have?  How long do you think that line will take?  Let’s see what Twitter is saying about this…..


That BLANK white box would be where I was going to paste in all of our tweets to Ram Racing while waiting in line for our packets.  The tweets we composed while we were bored standing in line, freezing, in a parking lot.  However, they deleted “our” tweets off their Twitter account.   But they can’t delete the tweets from MY page…..

TooTallFritz@TooTallFritz – Nov 2 – 1:17 pm

@RAMRacing ….. In the horrid line for #HotChocolateRace packet pickup. Word is that Willy Wonka must be inside. Fact or Fiction?

TooTallFritz@TooTallFritz – Nov 2 – 1:25 pm

Thanks @RAMRacing for fueling us while we wait to get our #HotChocolateRace packets.

Hot Choc_2012 Aid Station 1

TooTallFritz@TooTallFritz – Nov 2 – 2:01 pm

Just reached aid station #2 at the @RAMRacing#HotChocolateRace packet pickup. 73 min in & long way to go.

Hot Choc_2012 Aid Station 2Oh, and now we can see that the line is double deep.

Hot Choc_2012 Line 2  

TooTallFritz@TooTallFritz – Nov 2 – 2:47 pm

@michughes @RAMRacing I was 1 hr 57 min for packet pickup.

Wow, that was fun.  I waited.  I was cold.  I got “irritated”.  Pam had to go back to work. I was shocked that I had NEVER been to a more poorly ran packet pick-up.  I couldn’t get the phrase “time is money” out of my head.  I was irritated that somehow my time meant nothing to RAM Racing.  I considered sending them a bill at my hourly rate.  I considered sending them a bill at the hourly rate of the IronWOman surgeon standing next to me.  I considered leaving.  I decided to run the NYC Marathon NEXT year.  I finally got to the port-o-potties that provided a much needed wind break.  I was close.  I was FINALLY inside …… only to realize that there was another line to wait more.  AND THEN I picked up the packets.  One hour and fifty seven minutes.  Not even ONE minute was exaggerated and then I needed to wait in the cab line to head back to work so I could leave for my awesome commute home to get Toddler Man before his school closed up and/or called CPS on me.

Was it worth the wait?  Hmmmm ……. you have to be the judge of that.  This year the swag was a technical, gender specific hoodie.  I don’t like hoodies at all but this fits well and I think looks good.  It’s so much better than I anticipated.

Hot Choc_2012 sweatshirt

And they got my corral right, so that’s a major WIN in their column.  Cool bag too. 

Hot Choc_2012 swag

However, I’ve already decided that on principal alone, I personally need to sit out the 2013 Hot Chocolate Chicago race.  I hope they get their shit together cuz I really like this race.  Or I should say that I liked last year’s race.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring but I have to believe for my own personal sanity that the worse is over.

I’ll see you tomorrow bright and early RAM Racing.  I’m counting on you to bring me an amazing race experience.  Don’t let me down.  Screw up packet pick-up as badly as you did and that’s one thing, screw up the race that’s a whole ‘nother thing. 

I’m watching you.

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **