Monday, November 18, 2013

Kona Chocolate 10k Race Review

Sunday was the Chocolate 10k, the first Kona sponsored race I've done. Jeff raves about the company and their races, so I was looking forward to it, especially considering the majority of my running friends were doing it, and it would be Bill's first 10k. He's come to my last five marathons, but this was his first race in many years.

They offered number pick-up on race day, so we did that. Bill hopped out of the car to get our numbers while I found a parking spot, then I went inside to meet him. The first person I ran into was Nita! It was great meeting her, after following each other's blogs for two years :)

Bill had our jackets and numbers. His jacket isn't what it was supposed to be. The men were supposed to get black jackets with blue vertical stripes. Instead he got a navy blue jacket with white stitching. I actually like it better than the original design, but seems pretty crappy they were giving different jackets to different men without any rhyme or reason.

Tutu from 6th grade ballet recital :D
We headed to the start and saw... ZERO bathroom. Huh??? Evidently there were 22 porta potties, but they were hidden so well we never saw them before, during, or after the race. Panera and StarBucks were both open, but 4 toilets isn't going to work for 6,000 people.

It rained. All my clothing got soaked and I got chilled. I had really wanted to break 1 hour, but it took me 1:02:13. My "official" time is completely wrong, but I did cross the finish line three times....

I finished the race in 62:13 by my watch. The big clock was at 64:04, yet the website claims it took me 1:05:35. I wasn't right at the front of the start line, so my time was less than the big clock. There's no way possible to be over the big clock time.

I told Bill that after I finished, I would immediately turn around and find him, then run in together. 25 steps from the finish line, a woman had collapsed and was lying on the ground. A police officer was talking to her, asking her name, her age and where she was, but NO ONE was helping her. I understand the other runners wanted to finish their races, but the spectators were just standing there and I didn't see any medics, so without giving it a second thought I hopped back on the course, and a man volunteer and I supported her weight so she could finish. Her body wanted to collapse again at the finish, but we kept her upright until medics arrived. I think finishing with her overrode my original time, but that's totally ok.

I headed back and found Bill and ran in with him, for my third finish. He really wanted to break 70 minutes, and managed a 69:38. Yay!!!!!
Bill's group!
We got in line for the chocolate and it was ridiculous. There were THOUSANDS of people in line, and it split in to TWO lines??? They needed 6-8 lines, if not more. Even once we got through it, we got a small cup of hot chocolate, half a cookie, and a pretzel, marshmallow and 1-bite Rice Krispie treat dipped in chocolate. That's a far cry from the "chocolate buffet" they advertised.
There were so many people that it was impossible to sit anywhere, so we ate everything in about 3 minutes and left. It seemed like Kona kept expanding registration and wound up with tons more people than the park and logistics could physically support.
Pretty weak food. This was EVERYTHING I got :(
The jacket is ok. The medal is massive - bigger than any of my full marathon medals. Yes, it's nice, but it feels like it diminishes my marathon medals. I don't even know if I'll keep it on the hanger because it was just a whatever race, certainly not on par with a marathon.
Kona is offering the "grand slam" option next year for runners who complete all four of their sponsored races. I had planned to do it, but after the disorganization of the chocolate run, I'll keep my $200+ and avoid the headaches.


  1. Great review! I was so upset. Last night I posted a farely lengthy comment and my internet went out. I lost everything! I love your pictures. I have got to get back to taking the basic pictures of medals and shirts. Great Post. I was bummed that they gave me a LARGE shirt even signing up early I got the wrong size. But overall it was fun.
    I have no races in the furture except for Boston in April.
    We will have to do a race together.

  2. I knew after my 6 year old ran the mile race that it was going to be an EPIC debacle at the chocolate line. My 9 YO who did the 5K did manage to get some chocolate but I did not (I brought up the rear!) I wasn't about to stand in the ridiculas lines for the half cookie, etc. I agree, it was NOT the Chocolate buffet that was advertised. They run 3 other races, they just ran the Wicked 2 weeks prior, are you telling me that no one had any clue??? As much as is paid for his races, he needs to make it right! I love running in Plymouth and I like a well run race, but this was an epic failure. I doubt I will run a Kona race after this and my family has run 4 in the last 2 years.

    1. Sorry to hear your experience was no better than mine. I think everything would have been ok - at least better - if they kept the original registration cap. They kept expanding it though and there were way too many people for the park or the supplies. Not to mention I've done full marathons for less $...