I hit the NYC Marathon expo on its first day, shortly after it opened. My goals were modest – collect my race bib, load up on race swag and free samples, perhaps browse the wares a little, and document the event for you, my readers . . . all while minimizing time on my feet.
Navigating the expo at the Javits Convention Center is a bit like navigating an Ikea store: there’s a forced march through its various sections, beginning with bib pickup and then proceeding through shirt selection, race bag collection, timing chip quality control, the ASICS merchandise display (ASICS being a major sponsor of the race) and lesser merchandise displays. Bib pickup, the first stop, consisted of multiple rows of booths that corresponded to ascending bib numbers, seemingly reaching into the millions. It shouldn’t have been a hard concept to grasp, but I still managed to walk past my designated booth and wander around bewildered for a bit, before I realized the numbers were going in the wrong direction. (Because I qualified for the “Local Competitive” start by being fast for my age and gender, my bib number is shockingly low. Seeing all those booths at the expo was a salutary reminder to brace myself for being passed by literally thousands of younger and maler runners on Sunday.)
I made sure to position my three-digit bib number so that others could see it (without being too obvious), while holding myself erect and trying not to trip. Continue reading