Virtually Perfect: The Philadelphia Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the virtual Philadelphia Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k/5k race by RAM Racing as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

Picture it: New Jersey, March 2020. I was sitting on the couch, stuffing my face with an assortment of cakes and drinking wine as I received emails about the spring races I signed up for going virtual due to a virus called COVID-19.

Last year one of my first races to go virtual was the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15k/5k. It feels like a lifetime ago! We were so early in the pandemic, I wasn’t sure if running outside was “safe”. (Does anyone else remember those times?)

I ran the distance on my treadmill and that, as they say, was that. Even though we live less than a half hour away, I never felt further from Philly. Looking back I realize that I didn’t write a blog about it because what was there to say?

I took a picture with the medal so that’s something!

The past year has brought many virtual races and speaking with other runners I know that there’s an overall feeling of virtual race fatigue. I feel it too.

Some smaller races are back in person, but many of the larger races are still only safely able to function virtually. 2021 is my 5th straight year participating in the Allstate Hot Chocolate series and you know I couldn’t give up that legacy streak so I opted in through BibRave to run the virtual event.

Hope to see you next year, friends!

Leading up to race weekend, the communication from RAM Racing was a quiet, which surprised me. In past years, the series sent out a weekly training plan email so I thought that they might incorporate that into their planned virtual event. Alas, other than a few sporadic emails, there was nothing noteworthy. A missed opportunity!

Rather than relegating myself to another treadmill run, I felt comfortable and safe taking my run to a favorite running locale of mine, the Ben Franklin Bridge. It stretches between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, with the base directly in the city of Philadelphia.

In December, when I registered, my training was going well and I confidently signed up for the 15k distance. A lot can change in a short amount of time and this past weekend, I knew that I wasn’t prepared for that distance. Thankfully, there’s a 5k distance option and the path that goes over the bridge and back again is exactly that mileage.

Along with my kid runner, Lucas, we drove twenty minutes to the base of the bridge in Camden, NJ. The view of the Philly skyline is impressive and always makes me happy.

We took our time, took a ton of pictures, and enjoyed the beautiful day. We haven’t run the Ben since early March 2020, so this was welcome change for the both of us.

Back to NJ

Due to a manufacturing delay, I have not yet received my race packet in the mail – I know that this was an issue for some of my local friends who signed up for the race as well.

It stinks not to have the swag now that I’ve run the distance… after all we live in a world of instant gratification! However, I know that the swag is 100% worth the wait and I’m looking forward to it arriving soon.

My next race isn’t until June and that feels so weird to say! I’m focusing on returning to running, listening to my body, and getting through the continuation of this crazy time. Be safe and be well!

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