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The Race Expo Experience

Posted by: on January, 2 2014

Found on trippingthekenyans.com and written by Scott Devine

On Saturday, I’ll be running my first half marathon of 2014. But before I can attempt to PR, heck before I can even head to the start line or lace up my shoes, I’ve got to take care of the first important part of the race experience… the runners’ expo.

And I love it.expo

Imagine all of the enthusiasm and anticipation (and swag) for a race stuffed into one place; that’s what a good expo represents. The great thing is that everyone who goes to a runners’ expo is either a racer or racer tagalong who is every bit as excited about running as you are (you are in the midst of your people). Typically scheduled for the day or two prior to a race, it’s the first taste runners get of the race to come as they file through to pick up their bibs, T-shirts, freebies, as well as sample the products of running vendors and get a sneak peek at races to come.

Mind you, all expos are not created equal. At some smaller races, their expo (if you can even call it that) might consist of a dozen tents featuring a few local vendors peddling forgettable wares. Rather, let’s ruminate about the big boys, the expos that accompany the large races. 


Expos at big races are often located in the local convention center or in a large space at one of the hotels. And these expos have a bit of a Comic Convention feel to them as the aisles are packed with hardcore running fans eagerly bouncing from booth to booth. Another good thing about having an expo at a convention center is they’re designed to efficiently handle the thousands (or tens of thousands) of runners and supporters who have to pass through the doors. Parking is available, but expect to spend anywhere from $5- $20. My advice is to look for nearby street parking and save a few bucks. You’re going to need it because there’s plenty inside vying for your hard earned cash. And one thing that always excites me as I walk up to the expo hall is to see all of the people coming out clutching huge bags of swag (along with big runner grins).

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