I wish I had a photo from the race. For whatever reason — was technology really so much different back in 2009? — I don’t have a picture of Jen and me at the Hot Chocolate 15K in Chicago. I suppose it may be on my long-gone flip phone, or maybe I printed it out and it’s stashed somewhere in a shoebox. Or maybe if I dug back through Facebook I’d find it, though I believe the only image captured was of us post-race, at the bar with my sister, watching an MSU football game. Either way, what I do have of this race to this day: sweet memories of running 9 miles with one of my best running friends, enjoying delicious chocolate at the finish and warming up in our cozy chocolate-brown zip-up hoodies that were part of the race swag.

I bring up this memory because this race, so early on in my running journey, remains a favorite experience. Yes, because of the girls’ weekend away with Jen in the Windy City and also because it involved, yep, chocolate. Genius.

The good news for all of us here in Michigan: we’ve got our very own sweet race centered around chocolate — the Kona Chocolate Run 10K, 5K & Cocoa Mile on Nov. 20 in Plymouth. MRG is partnering with organizers of this race — you can check out the podcast episode featuring my conversation with race founder and director Alan Whitehead here » — and I’m happy to announce that I have two (2) free race entries to give away. Winners will join 5,500 other runners — 70 percent women — at this race. Details on entering this giveaway below…first, here’s more about this year’s Kona Chocolate Run:2016jackethomepage-2

  • Kick off your holiday celebrations: cups of Panera Bread Hot Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Guernsey Chocolate Milk & Sanders Chocolate Candy are all part of this race. Music and a heated warming tent next to chocolate buffet tents are also part of this downtown Plymouth event.
  • Sweet Swag: full zipper jacket is offered to race participants* High quality L. Jordan brand “Full zipper jacket with two zipper pockets and embroidered”; Men/Women fitted sizes for entrants; *Jackets guaranteed if registered by 11/17/2016
  • Post Race Chocolate Party: 2 Large Tents with 4 buffet lines. Panera Bread providing cups of hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies, Sanders Chocolate candy, & Guernsey Dairy serving chocolate milk. Also available: chocolate dip with pretzel rods.
  • Plenty of parking & access to start: shuttle buses run from ACH Plant parking lot MAP (limited to 1500 cars) MAP to/from the Plymouth Recreation Center (formerly Central Middle School); City of Plymouth will be charging $5 per vehicle ($2.50 to city & $2.50 to charity) in their municipal parking lots & structures, so use the free bus shuttles from 6:35 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
  • 10K / 5K Run Finisher Medals
  • Chocolate Double: Participate in 10K & 5K; run in the 1st start wave of 10K & receive tech jacket, 10K medal & Double Finisher medal; limited to 550
  • 10K Time Qualifier: Participants must run at “18 minutes or less pace per mile” to register for the 10K event
  • Age Group Awards: 10K & 5K events, M/F, 3 deep, 5-year age group increments, from 14 yrs old & under to +75 yrs old – pick up your award at finish-line Awards Tent between 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Courses: fun, flat & fast USATF certified courses 10K  5K Mile
  • Map to Kellogg Park, Plymouth, MI: 10K, 5K & Mile
  • B-Tag Timing: ChronoTrack bib scored for 10K & 5K & Cocoa Mile events

Two winners will receive free entry to this year’s Kona Chocolate Run. This is good for either the 10K or 5K — the winner’s choice. To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment below stating why you’d like to participate in this race AND your favorite kind of chocolate (dark or milk chocolate? a specific kind of candy bar?) Two winners will be chosen randomly. This giveaway starts Tuesday, Nov. 1 and ends Monday, Nov. 7. Winners will be announced here on the blog by Tuesday, Nov. 8. Good luck, everyone!

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