This past weekend I packed a bag and hopped on a Peter Pan bus headed home to help out with / participate in an annual race called the Hot Chocolate Run. The Hot Chocolate run happens every year in December and is put on by Safe Passage, a domestic violence shelter and resource for victims of abuse in Western Mass. The run is Safe Passage’s main source of fundraising and much of the organization’s budget relies on it. My aunt is the director of Safe Passage and I offered to help out this year as a volunteer and runner.
My cousin Jessie came down from Syracuse Saturday afternoon and we all headed to the hotel. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Northampton located near the race. The hotel was built fairly recently I think because the facilities looked brand new. We checked into our suite, dropped our bags and headed to town for some shopping & cocktails before dinner.
We stopped in to the Tunnel Bar, which was apparently voted one of the bars you have to drink in before you die. To its credit, it was really cool. It was once used for passengers to board trains at a railroad that ran through the area in the late 19th century.
We stayed for a a drink met some of my aunts’ friends who were joining us for dinner. We ate at a cute little thai place around the corner and turned in to the hotel around 8:30 to get some sleep before a very early morning.
I woke up the next day at 4:30am and headed over to the start line to help set up sound equipment. At 7 we went back to the hotel to pack up and have breakfast before going back to the race.
As you might guess from the name, runners are rewarded with a mug of hot chocolate after they finish the race. Around 400 gallons are brewed in the beer vats at the Northampton Brewery.
I ran with my aunt. We kept a steady pace that was comfortable–slower than what would have been challenging for me but it was good because I haven’t been running much lately and I’m still working out the issues with my knees.
When the race was done I grabbed my cocoa and a group of us got lunch at the brewery.
It was a great weekend and was so moving to see people come together against such a stigmatized and often secretive issue that victims struggle with. The best part? They raised over $100,000 more than they did last year. I’ll be back again for sure.