• Juan J. Arrieta

Interesting new course at Houston Hot Chocolate15k

Updated: Feb 3, 2018

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As I picked up my packet yesterday afternoon at Minute Maid Park for the 2018 Houston Hot Chocolate 5k/15k, I had an opportunity to speak to one of the managers handling the race about the course. I told him how I was looking forward to running it, as it follows Allen Parkway westbound on its first few miles, then just as it reaches Memorial Park, it turns around and heads back eastbound towards the finish line for the last 4+ miles that remain at that stage. It has been many, many years since I last ran a race in which the bulk of its course is along Allen Parkway. The last time I recall doing that was on a 25K race that used this well-known thoroughway that begins just as downtown Houston ends, and stretches all the way to Memorial Park on the west.

Whereas some runners might not be crazy about it, I personally enjoy running along this road because it is not pancake flat while not being what I would call "hilly" either (it falls somewhere between the two). It has quite a few of what I would describe as "undulating" up and down segments sprinkled throughout that are slightly challenging but fun at the same time and in my opinion help break up the routine of a course that is flat in its entirety. I am not certain whether or not scientifically it has a positive effect on the leg muscles or not, but mentally it sure does the trick for me. Interestingly enough, the gentleman I spoke with about this indicated that this version of the course was not originally designed this way, and that it is an alternate route they had to come up with after the one that was originally intented to be used had some issues related to the fllodings experienced in the area during Hurricane Harvey a few months ago. In addition to this course, another positive that has me quite upbeat about this event is the weather forecast; approximately 52F at the start with a bit of cloud cover with very little wind and no rain. Looking forward to a great race tomorrow!

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