Finished 10k in 52:12(official time); no new PR
Overall place: 385/2,192
Overall men: 247/771
Men 45-49: 33/91
Finished 5k in 24:35(official time); no new PR
Overall place: 164/2,489
Overall men: 122/779
Men 45-49: 10/79
Overall, a great improvement from last years inaugural race. The biggest issue was the chocolate line and, since I did the double, I got to see how this was both times and the lines were very small, quick to get through and well organized. Another excellent event for Kona and really happy to see they listened to their runners.
Because I'm an ambassador this year for the race, I mailed in my race entry but have also used their race registration on their website as well which is very easy to use. I also like their websites because they have all the important information in regards to the race.
In Kona's usual fashion, they offered packet pickup on both Saturday all day as well as Sunday before the race. I couldn't volunteer this time so I decided I would head over the morning of the race. I walked in, looked up my bib number and got my packet. I was in and out in a matter of minutes and they were well organized. It gave me plenty of time to get a parking spot right next to the finish line. While I usually park in the paid lot behind the farmer's market, I decided to try the street this time and got a great spot. Of course, I'm an early guy so I was in my parking spot by 6:50am.
|Volunteer check in and race day registration|
|Race bib numbers|
|Runners hanging out|
|Packet pickup - volunteers ready!|
While it's light when we start running, it's not that bright, so this time I didn't take any pictures of the start area except while in line to race because they wouldn't come out good. You will see that I got pictures of everything in the start/finish area while waiting between the 10k and the 5k. One advantage of doing the double race.
|Alan Whitehead, race director|
|Runners in front of me|
|Runners behind me|
I didn't really have a plan for racing except that I knew I would take the 10k slower than the 5k and I didn't want to build up a huge sweat so I wouldn't get too cold waiting for the next race. My pace for the 10k seemed to work perfect as I finished feeling good but not sweaty.
|10k official time|
|Splits/Map/Elevation per Strava|
|5k official time|
|5k splits/map/elevation per Strava|
The 10k was off to a quick start. As you can see, there were some that were dressed up in costume. This race also tends to attract more women(double the amount of women than men) because of the chocolate theme and it's also the first weekend in deer hunting season. Unfortunately, because the race starts at 7:30am, I really have a hard time getting any decent pictures until I'm half way through the 10k race.
|And we are off!|
Before I knew it, I was at the one mile marker. I did stop at each of the mile markers in the 10k only to get some decent pictures. Even with that, I think my pace remained pretty good.
|Plymouth in Winter|
The first 5 miles seemed to fly by and, while chilly, it really was perfect weather to run a race. We could have easily had snow but we lucked out again.
|Some fall color left|
|Brina from RWB with the flag|
|Larry working the finish line|
|Two tents of chocolate - 4 lines|
|Ready for runners|
|Runners keeping warm|
|Runners in front of me|
|Runners behind me|
|Ready to go!|
|And we are off|
I came across the 8 minute pacer and thought, ok, I'll keep ahead of him. I managed to move pretty far up in front of him. I wasn't sure my legs would let me after running the 10k.
|Passing the 8 minute pacer|
|More Fall color still|
The volunteers were at every turn as they are for all of Kona's races and they did an excellent job directing people as usual.
|Well marked course|
The volunteers did a great job at the aid stations. There was Nuun and water at the aid station below with clearly marked signs for which way you needed to be on to get what you wanted to drink. The picture below is looking back. The race also had a port-o-potty out on both the 10k course and the 5k course too if anyone needed it. I only actually stopped for water at the mid point of the 10k course.
After we finished, the race had the medals all lined up for the 10k runners and volunteers were handing them out. If you ran the double, you got your 10k and double medal after you ran both races. They had them completely separate from the rest of the medals so they could easily be distributed to the double runners and it worked out fantastic once again.
|Medals and double medals|
|Medal #3 this race|
|Small lines at the other tent too|
|Hot Cocoa and Chocolate Milk|
|The chocolate packet|
|Eating by the fountain|
For your race entry fee for the double race, $72, you received a certified, chip timed course which was partially closed and staffed with race volunteers. There were aid stations about every 1.5 miles on the 10k and one also on the 5k. You received a custom bib with a QR code, although I didn't use it this time to look up my results. By the time I got home, results were posted online.
|High quality shirt|
|Chocolate 10k medal|
|Chocolate Double medal|
|Medal close up|
|Double medal close up|
|Kona Grand Slam medal|
|Grand Slam close up|
|Grand Slam shirts/bibs/medals|
|Kona Grand Slam medals with 3 double medals|
|2014 Kona shirts/medals/bibs|
|2014 Kona medals|
Kona did a great job with the race this year. It really was a disaster for many last year and I'm happy to see that they listened to the runners last year and followed through on their promise to make the organization better at the finish line. As usual, they are a race company of their word. The start/finish area was well planned, the course was very well marked, the volunteers knew what to do, the race started on time. Well done.
Overall, this was a great race to finish off the race series. The bling you get for running these races are incredible. I love that the race company has always stood by their word to improve their races each year. Once again, there were large improvements to this race and all of them. The double races was a nice touch too. Probably the only thing I can say that would make it difficult to run this series every year is the fact that three of the four races are on the same course making it a little redundant. I would welcome them looking at changing up the courses to give it some different viewpoints.
Overall, though, this is a race series that you will enjoy completing with a nice theme for every race they put out. The Kona 10 mile still remains one of my favorite races I've run since I started. Another exciting year in the Kona organization when it comes to racing.
Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!
Note: I received a complimentary race entry into the Kona Chocolate Double in exchange for this race review. All my opinions are my own and I'm not required to give a particular opinion except for an honest one. I also received entry into the Grand Slam series for the year.