Any runner can tell you that the best thing about a race is not the race itself. No, that is the pure torture part - wherein you push your body to the limit, your legs get sore and tired, you can't breathe, you get blisters, cramps, or a sidestitch. Ironically, the best part of a race is when it is finally over. When you've crossed the finish line and get it over with. When you can get on with your lives and be normal again. That is until you registered for the next race and the whole cycle begins again.
This is the case for running in the Philippines. Of course, there are some races where the run itself was memorable - running on Skyway via Condura, on trail paths of MensHealth Urbanathon series, or the famous New Balance race in Clark last year. But these things you would most likely think about when the run is over. When you start having your breakfast with your friends and talk about the race you just finished.
For other countries, the best part of running may not only be finishing a race and getting a new personal distance or time record but it is also the expo held the day before the actual race.
For my second marathon, that is the case here. The expo was very nice but since we bought pasta dinner buffet tickets, we decided to go there in the afternoon. Rio, full of excitement, went there in the morning with his cousin, to get their race packs.
Immediately, I noticed the difference here vs. those in the Philippines. First of course, is that we RARELY had an expo and when we did, it was virtually empty of booths and events (case in point: the recently concluded Adidas King of the Road run).
Here, it was very organized. You would look for your name on a master list on a billboard, printed alphabetically and get your race number. After which, you would go to the designated area to claim your race kit. Said area is assorted by race numbers to avoid long lines. Once you've gotten your bib, you would move down the lane where they would next give you your race pack, then your race cap, race jacket and finally, pasta buffet tickets.
There is also a small seating area where an organizer would explain the entire half marathon or full marathon course in terms of: 1) at exactly what point the water station, GU station, or portalets will be; 2) where the course would take the runner - if it is an uphill or downhill climb, if through tunnels, if through dirt road or concrete road, if roads are open to traffic or closed; 3) what the weather and temperature will be like on race day; 4)what to expect after crossing the finish line, 5) where to park your cars, where your family can cheer for you, where to leave your bags, etc. Every inch of the race map is described so that the runner can prepare for it MENTALLY and be ready the next day! This is a very good idea that I hope we could emulate soon (as soon as we fix the basic problems of water shortages in marathons!)
There are also booths selling caps, GU, running outfits and running charms.
Afterwards, Per and I went to the buffet area, where in order for us not to be bored, we listened to a talk made by Dick Beardsley regarding his 1980's race with Alberto Salazar where he lost the Boston Marathon after running the entire marathon at pace with Alberto for the top prize. And the time difference between them at the finish line? A measly 1.6 seconds! The video of said race was also shown and it gave us goosebumps just watching the very tight race. I wanted to buy his book but he admitted after his talk that all the copies he brought with him got sold out even before he entered the buffet area! So I got a copy at Amazon and excited to get and read it soon!
The expo ended at 6:00pm and as promised to my wife, Per and I went to Target store to shop for a few hours. Per's promise to me was that we could go home at 8:00pm so I can have enough rest and prepare myself for my second marathon. And so we did that too.
My previous record for a 42.2km race was at 6:31++ in Sundown Marathon in Singapore (May 2009). I had a terrible time from the heat. Fresno will be the exact opposite from my first experience as it will be super cold (Mark remarked before that I should practice running in a cooler!)
I wonder how I will do tomorrow....
Runners start here! Next to the guy is the master list of all the runners arranged alphabetically.
Race kit includes chip timer, bib and lots and lots of goodies!
The food! This Running Fatboy had two servings! YUM!
And the goodies! Not shown were the cap and long sleeves technical shirt I also got at the expo. At the finish line, a runner would receive not only a medal but also a hooded sweatshirt! A very good deal!
Can imprint your bib to a technical shirt for a small fee. Hmmm, is this shirt a sign for our friend to do a full marathon soon? Only time will tell!