Race Review: Ooh La La Chocolate 1/2 Marathon & 5K Run

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On Sunday, November 7th, I attended the Ooh La La Chocolate half marathon and 5K race in downtown Geneva. This race was incredibly well organized with several pre-race communication emails and plentiful information on the website to prepare runners.

Upon arriving, I was reminded of how cute downtown Geneva is. Several streets are paved in cobblestone and stores line the downtown area. I was able to find parking immediately, which was free and close to the start/finish line. I walked up to high energy music and a friendly DJ greeting runners. The lines for the porta potty‘s were manageable and there was a large outdoor fire pit to warm runners as we waited for the 7 AM start time.

We began at the top of the hour, with the start line right outside of Kane County Courthouse. Runners ran through the adorable residential streets for the first mile before entering the Fox River Trail. This trail is a favorite amongst local runner is easy to see why. At this time of the year, the trees are changing into bright oranges and yellows that line the paved trail, which borders the Fox River. The trail was not crowded and runners were able to have their own space while still running with pace groups if they preferred.

The course was well marked and extremely scenic as the Half Marathon runners went out 6.5 before turning to follow the same route back to downtown Geneva. The 5K runners began after the Half Marathon-ers and followed the same course for an out and back.

Volunteers lined the course and aid stations were available every 1 to 2 miles. A local Cyclery had bikers on the course, ready to provide aid if needed. Upon returning to downtown Geneva, runners crossed the finish line and were created by several booths, including Smith Physical Therapy. In fact, one of our writers, Megan Hode, was onsite with her team, pamoering runners with massages and circulation boots.

After visiting a local vendors, I found the chocolate tent. Everyone received a plate full of chocolate goodies and a warm cup of hot chocolate from Chef Roby at All Chocolate Kitchen. Runners also received a finishers medal and high quality hooded sweatshirt or three-quarter zip, based on their selection.

This is such a fun race and I encourage you to put it on your list for next year. The chocolate themed goodies, scenic course, and amazing volunteers are reasons enough!

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Mandi has been running for over 25 years and has participated in the Chicago, Detroit, and Boston Marathons. Mandi regularly competes in regional events and enjoys being a part of several running groups including CARA and the Badgerland Striders. She is a co-host on the Ten Junk Miles podcast and looks forward to hosting the Chicago Athlete Podcast. An RRCA certified coach and Les Mills certified instructor, Mandi is also a coach with Chicago Athlete Coaching. Mandi is a local government attorney by weekday and race warrior by weekend.

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