Today’s Tuesdays on the Run topic is race expos and I have a small confession: I don’t particularly enjoy race expos! They can be so overwhelming from a crowd perspective, with all of the wandering runners and shoppers among the narrow aisles. It can be hard to navigate in some ways. I know that more social people than I enjoy that about them, though – the chance to chat with runner friends and vendor friends. Despite my dislike of crowds, race expos can be a valuable experience.
– If you’re interested in specific race merchandise, go to that booth first especially if it’s RunDisney (or another high demand race). Check out my Star Wars Expo post for my experiences on the one and only time I’ve actually waited in line for race merchandise. I don’t normally do that – I just accept that the some of the race specific merchandise will be sold out when I get there. I do still love the jacket and Let the Wookie Win shirt I got at that expo though. For every race but that one, I’ve come to the Expo a little later when it wasn’t quite so crowded, but you risk them selling out of high demand merchandise if you do that so be warned.
– That rule applies UNLESS you’re arriving just before the close of the last expo session. In that case, be sure to get your number and race shirt first. After all, those are the things you technically need to have (the number at least) and everything else is gravy.
– Try your shirt on before you leave the expo (or at least hold it up to gauge the fit). It’s a lot easier to exchange your shirt or fix any problems with your bib while you’re still there! Take this into account when you’re dressing to go to the Expo and wear something you can easily try things on over, for both your race shirt and any shopping you might do.
– Expos can be a good place to learn about other local races, especially if you’re going to a local race expo. I feel like I get a million little post cards about other races when I go to race expos here around Omaha and have learned about some fun races that way.
– If there’s something specific you’re interested in, like a particular booth or vendor, check out the map before you go so you save yourself some wandering. It’s easy to miss things on the busy expo floor, so having an idea of where you’re going helps. This is especially important for RunDisney events because you’re going to make several stops in different buildings to pick up all of your required items, before you even get to the shopping.
– Speaking of shopping, if you’re going to shop, bring a tote bag or some other shopping bag so it is easier to hold all of your purchases and the many samples you can pick up along the way.
– If you don’t have a local running store, expos can be a great chance to look at and play with running-specific gear you’d otherwise have to buy online. Even if you don’t buy it at the expo, having a chance to look at it in real life can be handy.
– Be sure to check out the guest speakers, which can be interesting and informative. I’ve enjoyed the RunDisney speaker series I’ve done and the Des Moines races had Kathrine Switzer this year!