Marathon Expos   2 comments

For a non-runner marathon expos can be really, really boring. Really. I mean, how much fun can one have standing around watching people get registered for a race? There are only so many ways that someone, a husband, for example, can be handed a bag with a race number, timing chip, pen, and a t-shirt.  At this point, I am sure I have experienced most of them, although making the runners swim to get them could be entertaining. You’d know right off who the triathletes were. Those would be the ones who don’t drown. Heh.

After the registration line comes the obligatory walk through the marathon expo. Expos at most races have a handful of vendors hawking running shoes and athletic apparel. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, there is artwork, running related, of course, or even posters (oooh!) showing famous runners I have never heard of and whose names I don’t remember. A basic rule of thumb is the smaller the marathon, the more boring the expo. Not a lot of vendors are willing to make the commitment for a race with only several hundred potential customers. Mid-sized marathons have more stuff to look at, touch, and buy. Hartford features sleep-number beds that thrill my son (I don’t know why as he’s not getting one until he gets a job and his own place to live… in ten years or so) as well as samples of rice, and Ben and Jerry’s gives out free ice cream at the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington.  As many as you want.  Not that I know this for any particular reason.  Really.

The big marathons, like Boston, have expos filled to the rafters with shoes, clothes, weird-looking stick things you supposedly use for deep-tissue massage but look much more like smack-down objects, cow bells, and snacks.  Lots of snacks. The entire Hynes Auditorium is one big snack-haven, and the snacks are free.  Free.  And while I don’t like running, don’t need running shoes as I never run, and have no interest in the athletic clothes they sell at these expos (running clothes are way too skimpy for someone like me), I really like most of the snacks.  Protein bars that taste like chocolate or dulce de leche?  Let me at ’em.  Jelly beans?  Yes, thank you. Meat? Make room at the table. And yes, the beef industry did have a table at last year’s expo. The boy got a pin that says “I (heart) beef!” I have the pictures to prove it. They are really cute and will serve as lovely blackmail fodder when he gets old enough to date.

By themselves, the snacks would be good enough, but when you couple them with free swag, they’re great. And when the free swag is more snacks? Fabulous! The past two times my husband has run Boston and we have accompanied him when he registered, I have left the expo with pockets full of granola bars, popcorn, roasted nuts, gel things that I passed on to my husband because I think they’re disgusting, sample packages of rice, and many more things too numerous to mention. Or remember. Except the red cowbell. I’m not sure why I got that as a) it’s not edible, b) it required a $5 donation to a charity I already give money to, and c) the child was more interested in using it to make noise in the house than to scare away support the marathoners at the race.  I must have been in a food haze at the time and not paying enough attention.  It’s as good an excuse as anything else, I suppose.

This year Boston closed after registering something like 27,000 people in eight hours, the fastest time ever in the race’s history according to its website.  On the one hand this is good as in 2011 Patriot’s Day is on the same day as the first Passover seder (see what happens when you try to cross a lunar holiday with a 3rd Monday of the month holiday?) which would have been problematic in a number of ways.  On the other, it means I don’t get to feast at the expo, which is too bad.  That said, the husband is considering a “destination” marathon for the spring.  Ottawa.  While not exactly my type of destination — I keep pushing for Hawaii — it is a race in a large city.  I wonder what the expo will be like.

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Posted September 30, 2010 by wordsaremylife in marathons, random thoughts

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2 responses to “Marathon Expos

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  1. Hi Lisa,

    I love your marathon posts! Especially the food.

    RJ and I just went to Montreal and we decided we really like Canada. I bet you folks have a lot of fun in Ottawa. It will be a little chilly, but you guys are hardy New Englanders!

    –Cathy

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