whether you are running or not. If you are running, you probably have to go to the expo to pick up you bib and you race packet. It is easy to bypass all the booths and make a b-line for the door. Why deal with the crowds? And if you aren’t running the race, why bother going to the expo? Today I am going to give you 3 reasons why you should visit a race expo whether you are running or not.
Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Portland Marathon expo even though I was not running the race. Ultima Replenisher, a brand that I love and became and ambassador for, invited me to come be at their booth over the weekend. Being there showed me all the benefits of attending a race expo even though you are not running the race.
The 3 Ws
When: Most races, especially larger ones, have an expo that takes place a day or two before the actual race. Entry to the expo is usually free and open to everyone. I’m sure there are some exceptions to this, but in my experience this has always been the case. Race expos want people to come, so they allow everyone in whether you are running or not. If your city has a large or semi-large race, check out the race website for the expo days and times.
What: The race expo is usually full of booths from different vendors offering everything from running accessories to massage chairs. Some races list the vendors on the website prior to the expo, others only show you the title sponsors of the race. If you can’t get a list of vendors prior to the expo, it is still worth the trip. I’ll explain why below.
Where: Expos are usually in a banquet room at a hotel, a convention center or somewhere close to the starting line. It depends on the size of the expo and where the race is held. Check the race website for the specific location details.
3 Reasons You Must Visit a Race Expo
The number one reason to visit a race expo, running or not, is the discounts. Not every exhibitor does this, but most booths/brands will offer a special race expo discount on products or services that is not available anywhere else. This means if you need a new pair of running shoes, some compression socks, body glide, electrolytes or a foam roller, the place to get them is at the race expo!
Another common ‘discount’ you find at race expo is a discount or incentive for entry to other races. For example, at the Portland marathon expo, there were races from both Washington and California that were offering a discount on race registrations. This is a great way to save some money on upcoming races you want to run.
‘Try before you buy’ is always a good idea which is why product samples are another reason to visit a race expo. This is a great way to try new products with no strings attached. I have sampled some products at race expos that I probably wouldn’t have tried otherwise. An added bonus? If you like it, you can probably buy it at a discounted price! (see previous point) 🙂 The most common samples are food/beverages, but it could also be trying on a new running belt or demoing a new pair running shoes.
This last weekend there were samples ranging from oatmeal, protein bars and electrolyte beverages to hummus and energy gels.
3. Free stuff
Who doesn’t love free stuff? I mean seriously. Free stuff is extra cool when it is useful, and at race expos it usually is. In the past I have gotten things like chapstick, a cowbell, a sweatband, food and even a shirt.
Bonus — meeting people!
This hasn’t happened for me at every expo, but occasionally you can meet the president of the company or the creator of a product at the booth. When this happens, it is super cool because if you are unfamiliar with the product, you can find out a lot about it and why they created it. On the other hand, if you love the product, you can share your love with the person who created it! Bloggers, this could also be a networking opportunity. If you go that route, be professional.
Precaution: meeting the founder of a brand or product you love can lead to speechlessness or feeling starstruck.
Brands sometimes will also bring an athlete or ambassador which are great to connect with because they share the different ways they use the product and how it has helped them which can give you ideas and inspiration on how to use the product as well.
While each expo is different, they usually don’t disappoint and almost always have something for everyone, runner or not. Next time there is a big race in you city, be sure to check out the expo, you will be so glad you did!
Tell me: What is your favorite part about race expos? Discounts? Samples? Free Stuff? All of the above?