Sweeping Hot Chocolate Tampa
I had the opportunity to be the Beast Pacer sweeper for the second year in a row. This is also the second year the race has been hosted in Tampa, FL. this is my recap of this year's race.
The expo was held at the Tampa Convention Center, the same place as last year. There was plenty of parking and the fee was nominal. It was small with many vendors. It was easy and quick to pick up my bib and grab my swag bag. The race also offered a swag exchange in the event your jacket did not fit correctly. There plenty of chocolate and photo opps.
Race day this year was a million times better than last year. First it was chilly, which was perfect for the hot chocolate theme. This was great because last year it was so hot that I threw my hot chocolate away. The 5k race started first at 7:15 am. The 15k started at 7:45 am. The course is an out and back along a waterfront.
As the sweeper, you are a bit of celebrity since people don't want to see you during the race. I took a few pictures before the race started with runners that hoped to pass me during the race.
As the sweeper I was the last person to cross the start line. My pace was 15 min/mile (2:19 finish time). Since I don't run that pace naturally, I ran a 30s run/45s walk interval. At the 5k mark that was a significant gap between me and a few of the runners at the back. Around the 4 mile mark, anyone who was behind me was diverted to shorten the course.
The finish line was also moved from last year so we didn't have to run over the bridge twice. I do wish the bridge was covered with a rug to prevent people from falling on the grating. I finished the race in my assigned time and was award an amazing medal and delicious chocolate. My favorite part of the race was when we got candy corn at one of the water stations (I love candy corn!).
To improve the race, I would recommend that they place carpet over the bridge to prevent runners from falling and injuries. They also also have a competition to get more crowd support.
I really enjoy this race and hope to return next year. My next stop for the Hot Chocolate series is in Atlanta in Febuary 2018.