I’m breaking my race review into a couple of parts. The expo was held the day before the marathon and I felt it deserved it’s own special update.
Suzanne and I met at the expo at 9:00, right when it first opened. Well, I got there at 9:05. Parking was awful. It seemed like half of the race participants had the same idea we had, to get there early and try to get out quickly. The expo was held at the DoubleTree, which is right next to the Biltmore Estate. They were the host hotel, and I’m betting that participants that stayed there had a great time. (They had breakfast for the marathon runners, a dinner the night before the race and it seemed like the really embraced the race.)
All of the race sponsors were in one conference room. We got our bibs at the end of the long line of booths. The room was divided by a partition and booths lined both sides of the aisle and partition. It was very crowded and several of the booths were more popular than others (such as the one where you could have a race shirt made – for a fee – or the booth featuring Newton shoes. Also the one where you could buy the Biltmore marathon wine had a line.)
When we first walked in, we were given a bag and a card. If we got the card checked off by each sponsor, we could have it entered into a raffle. If you wanted to skip a booth, you could pay $5 for a raffle ticket. The lines were so crazy in some spots that we decided that it wasn’t worth a raffle ticket. (I did stop for the Sierra Nevada people. They’re opening a brewery in our area, and were giving out free pint glasses. My husband appreciated his glass.)
I ended up buying a bottle of wine and an Asheville Marathon glass (a stemless wine glass, but you know I’ll be drinking whatever out of this glass.) I also purchased a race shirt. Pricey at $25, but once I saw the official race shirt, I was so glad I bought a different shirt.
The race shirts ran SMALL. Like a couple of sizes. I had requested a medium. I need at least a large for my arms to even fit. An extra large would probably fit great on me. Also, the race shirt is completely see through. (As you can see from my photo. You can see the logos that were on the back of the shirt.)
The lines to get our bibs were long and confusing. The signs were on the table, but should have been on a wall behind the tables. Apparently there was a table for Biltmore Estate tickets – which we should have received to even get onto the estate the next morning – but we didn’t see the person handing out the tickets. I didn’t even KNOW about the ticket until about 8 that night, when I was reading through the paper telling me what I needed the next morning.
There was one last table on our way out, and a woman handed us each another bag, and a free pair of gloves. The gloves came in handy, as I used them to layer with my running gloves.
When I was reading the information that night, I noticed that they would not only be checking for our bibs, they were checking IDs (to match the bib names) and looking for the Estate tickets. Suzanne and I did not receive the tickets, but one of our friends did – that’s how we figured out where the ticket woman was. It wasn’t well organized.
For a local race expo, I would rate them as a B+. It was too crowded and not the most organized I felt it could have been. I feel like if they had separated the number pick up from the room with all of the sponsors – or even moved the official merch tables into a separate area, it would have alleviated some of the congestion.
Coming up later today (I hope): the race report.