On Sunday November 15, I took part in the Kona Chocolate Run. This was the last of the three Kona Race events held in downtown Plymouth for 2015 (along with the Shamrock Run in March and the Wicked Halloween Run in October). After checking out the website a couple months ago, I discovered that walkers are welcome to participate. Since I do enjoy taking long walks, I figured this would be a great opportunity to feature the event in my blog. So I decided to sign up to walk the 10K – and I’m glad I did!
The fee to register was $52 and I received an embroidered jacket, a medal for finishing the race, and a ticket which provided access to the chocolate buffet tent for some tasty treats afterward. In addition, a portion of the funds raised are donated to local charities (Barbara Karamanos Cancer Institute, University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, Plymouth Parks and Recreation, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society).
Each participant wears a bib that has a timing chip to record when they pass through the start and finish lines. After the race, each person can scan the QR code on their bib to check their recorded time. Being my first race, I had no idea how this worked and I thought it was really cool!
I finished 1666 of 1725 participants in the 10K race, which puts me in the bottom 3 percent (not a huge surprise since I walked). But I did manage to keep a pace of under 16 minutes per mile. I was really happy about that, since it was about 2 minutes per mile better than I timed myself while taking recreational walks. I would really like to participate again next year. So if I commit myself to taking walks more regularly, hopefully this is a starting point I can build on.
One thing that stood out to me was how many volunteers it takes to pull off an event of this size. There were people who worked the chocolate tents, handed out medals, were involved in the activities in the park, and people handing out cups of water during the race. There were also police officers directing traffic to keep the streets safe for drivers, walkers, and runners alike. Everyone was really nice and offered words of encouragement as the walkers and runners passed by, so I was very grateful for that.
I did manage to take some pictures during the event which I have included below….
I took this photo just before the start of the 10K race. I placed myself near the back since I was walking. There were almost 5,000 participants total for all three races – and over 1,700 for the 10K alone!
Here is a photo of the finish line I took a few minutes after I passed through. The weather was absolutely perfect for the event, considering this was mid November.
The atmosphere in the park was very festive. There was music playing and people in costume dancing on the stage.
Here are the goodies I scored from the chocolate buffet tent. They were delicious!
This is the embroidered jacket I got after registering and wore during the race.
And here is the medal I received for finishing the race. I really enjoyed it and would like to participate again next year!