This is a sponsored post.

Whether you are running your first or your 50th event, the expo can be quite the experience. I’ve been to some massive-sized expos (NYCM, Boston) and I’ve been to some relatively smaller-sized ones (Oakland Running Festival, Giants Race). While they may be different in size, they both have a unique experience that makes it special in its own way.

Here is a simple list of things to do (and avoid) race weekend.


Try new things. There are a TON of vendors there that are targeted specifically to the running industry and YOU, the runner. If you have ever wanted to feel what that new massage roller feels like, give it a try. If you have ever wondered what coconut water tastes like with a splash of mint (I don’t even know if that’s a thing), give it a taste. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about things that might improve your future miles.

Meet new people. If there was only something happening race weekend that connected runners that interacted across social media where they could meet, chat, and wish each other happy running vibes… if only something like that existed.

Meet MORE new people. At some of the major events there are guest speakers, featured athletes, authors, or other industry professionals giving talks, signing books, kissing babies, hosting shakeout runs, etc. Check the expo schedule and find out if there is something that interests you.

Buy something. Yep, I said it. If this is a special race, this is your opportunity to buy something to commemorate it (other than the finisher’s shirt). There is hardly a time when I look back and think “I shouldn’t have bought X at the expo.” But there are a handful of times I’ve looked back and thought “dang, I should have picked that up.” We are runners, you are going to use it eventually, even if you already have 3 of them in a different color.

Have fun. You see that picture above? Am I really crossing the finish line like that? Nope, but it was a moment to have my picture taken and be a little silly. You’ve done all the training and this is your moment to enjoy it. Have fun at a photo booth, take a picture with something (or someone) that will be something you back on and smile about this one time (or the 50th) you did something “crazy.”


Trying new things. Wait, didn’t I just say up above to try new things? Yep, and that is still true. What you want to avoid is trying something new that will affect your race day performance. DO NOT try the new pair of shoes you picked up at the expo because they were on sale and the perfect shade of green. DO NOT try the watermelon flavored sticky-gel-bar-smoothie-bean as your race day fuel because they were 2 for $1. You want to stick with what works for you and what you have been training with. Nothing new on race day.

Staying on your feet all day. Expos can be so exciting that you find yourself walking around for a couple of hours, or walking to the expo, then to lunch, then back to your hotel. Chances are you have been so excited about the experience that you didn’t realize you have been on your feet for 5 hours and walked 8 or so miles. Not what you want to do the day before your big race. Get off your feet!

Being surprised race morning. If you have a question, this is the place to ask it. If you forgot to find out where parking is, find out now. If you are unsure what pace groups will be out there, find the pacing table. If you don’t know where runners meet their families post-race, this is the time to ask. There is often a solutions or information booth at expos that have all of the information you will need.

Portland Marathon and Mazda

2016 Sports & Fitness Expo
Hilton Portland and Executive Tower
921 SW 6th Avenue – Portland, OR

Friday, Oct. 7 from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 8 from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.




Remember when I suggested staying off your feet, well, take 10 minutes and sit inside the 2016 Mazda CX-9 on display all weekend long. Mazda will be featured at the Portland Marathon Expo this weekend and they are inviting you to experience the difference and find out why #drivingmatters.

That and I think if you touch the car, it is guaranteed to shave 3 seconds off your finish time through osmosis. #basicscience

What are things you try to DO or AVOID at the expo?