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Atlanta race combines hot chocolate, running
1105EXERCISE
The Hot Chocolate 5k will be held Jan. 24 in Atlanta.

The setting: Sitting on the couch at your grandma’s house with plates of cookies stacked to the ceiling, your favorite holiday movie playing in the background and your family discussing the upcoming presidential election.

The dilemma: It’s just a matter of time before an argument breaks out, and didn’t you actually want to go for a nice family walk?

Well, how about some exercise outdoors without having to give up the desserts that mark  our favorite time of the year?

The Hot Chocolate 5k in Atlanta on Jan. 24  is the perfect opportunity to connect with other runners from across Georgia, get some  great running gear and indulge in tasty hot chocolate and chocolate fondue at the finish line.

Want a bigger challenge? A Hot Chocolate 15k is also being offered the same day.

“I prefer races that support a good cause, have a unique location, small registration number or are just unusual,” said Natalie White, yearbook adviser and Renaissance Academy for Creative Enterprises Program director at Chestatee High School.

“I love the community of runners, the crowds cheering you on, the finish line, the pride and confidence that accomplishment breeds.”

Both races begin in waves starting at around 7:40 a.m. at Turner Field, where the finish line and after party complete with chocolate goodies will take place. RAM Racing recommends arriving at Turner Field at 6:30 a.m. to complete important race-day information and to warm up.

The 5k run is $44 until Nov.15, and the 15k is $65 until Nov.15. After this date, the registration of each race goes up by $5.

Both registration fees include a goodie bag and a runner bib. The goodie bag contains hot chocolate and a “luxurious full-zip hoodie” runner’s jacket lined in fleece, according to the Hot Chocolate 5k Atlanta website, http://www.hotchocolate15k.com/atlanta/.

Those not wanting to run but instead to volunteer and take part in all of the other fun events offered can sign up online at http://www.hotchocolate15k.com/atlanta/get-involved/.

On Jan. 22 and Jan. 23 there will also be a pre-race expo at the Georgia World Congress Center featuring running gear, racing businesses and free confectionary samples. The address for the World Congress Center is 235 Northside Drive, and the expo is in in Building C- Hall C4.

Runners are required to pick up their packet information on these two days, as no packet pickup is allowed on race day. The expo is open from noon to 7 p.m. on Jan. 22, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Jan. 23.

Vendors that will be present at the event include Runningluv, a company based out of Mississippi that created a multipurpose running towel that can be folded into a sweatband, tissue or wristband on the go.

Generation Ucan will educate runners on the dangers of energy drinks and will propose a healthy alternative to keep you running longer.

Runners can purchase products from their favorite companies or reach out and meet new up and coming providers of running gear. The expo is free to attend for race runners.

Parking passes can also be pre-purchased on the Hot Chocolate 5k website.

Children of all ages are allowed but must be registered for the race, and children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult at all times. The minimum mile time is 15 minutes.

Children wanting to “blow off steam” can do so in a kid zone  packed with inflatable bouncy houses and other games.

A dance party is a must and runners are encouraged to shake, wobble and jump after they have crossed the finish line.

The award ceremony will take place at 9:30 a.m. on the Jan. 24  with the top three male and female overall being announced. There are also awards that will be mailed to the “top three finishers in each age group for each distance. Age groups are 14 and under, 15-19, 20-24 and every five years through 70+,” according to the website.

Strollers and dogs are not permitted on race day. However, bikes are allowed but must be parked before the race begins.

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