Megan (left) with two other local runners/bloggers: Ty and Josh (who was running as a pacer).
Megan (left) with two other local runners/bloggers: Ty and Josh (who was running as a pacer).

Michigan runner Megan, who blogs at Watch Me Go Run, shares her 10K race experience at this past weekend’s Kona Chocolate Run in downtown Plymouth. Nearly 6,000 people participated in this inaugural event that included a mile fun run, 5K and 10K. Kona Running Company, which was featured here earlier this fall, also is behind the Kona Run in Northville, Kona St. Patrick’s Day Run and Wicked Halloween Run in Plymouth, and the new Novi Half Marathon to take place May 4 2014.

Hi there Michigan Runner Girl readers! I’ve done all of the Kona races for the past few years. I’ve actually been an ambassador helping to promote them as well because I love them all so much! The races have grown exponentially in the past year and though yesterday was an inaugural race, it was definitely popular. Getting there at my normal time, (around 7:20 for an 8:00 am start for the 10K) my usual parking areas were already full. So, get there early!

I finally found parking and was able to check out the goodies before the start of the race.

A post-race "buffet" of chocolate was available to all runners.
A post-race “buffet” of chocolate was available to all runners.

This race is truly ideal for newbie runners or people looking for a low-pressure race. It’s flat, has great crowd support, and makes it easy to run with a pacer. They have pacers line up according to time and the paces are broken up into two waves. Additionally, they also have a new category: “1st-time 5K or 10K” (depending on which race you run).

Before the race, there is music, a costume contest, and a warming tent to keep you from freezing! (Though this weekend it was pretty nice out!) The fun atmosphere also makes it ideal for families. I know several people who have had their kids run the 1 mile and absolutely love it!

The race started right on time and though there were plenty of people, it wasn’t congested. Kona has certainly perfected how to start a race and accommodate the crowd. The race winds through Plymouth neighborhoods and there was plenty of people cheering us on. Definitely a plus in my book!

Despite any personal issues, this race went off without a hitch. As it grows, they could look into shuttle services to the race and may need to add more bathroom options along the course. Otherwise, they definitely have a strong handle on organization, having plenty of water, and great volunteers.

All 10K finishers got medals.
All 10K finishers got medals.
Every racer got a 1/4-zip pullover that is comfy and warm.
Every racer got a 1/4-zip pullover that is comfy and warm.

I ended up not getting any of the post-race goodies, but I heard from others they were phenomenal.

Some think the prices for Kona races are pretty steep, but you get a quality medal, great shirts, and they always have great goodies and entertainment. Plus, having an organized, stress-free race makes it worth it!

Michigan runners, if you’re looking for a fall race to add to your calendar, put this one on for next year!

Read more about Megan’s Kona Chocolate Run on her blog Watch Me Go Run » 

Anyone else participate in one of the Kona Chocolate Run events? How’d it go?

Kona races are known for their sweet swag. What’s the most important aspect for you involving races? Good course? Nice shirt/medal? Post-race food/entertainment?  


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