Wow, the Tokyo Marathon Expo was so much fun! I’ve never experienced such energy, helpful tips and wackiness before are a race expo.
First, the bib pick up was quick and effortless and it was when things started to feel real for me. “This is really happening” “I’m really in Japan to run a marathon” “I can’t believe I’m doing this” were some of the thoughts that ran through my head as I entered the Expo.
It started with a free towel from BMW and a free metro card from the Tokyo Metro (which came in handy for sightseeing).
Then on to the games, I didn’t quite understand most of what was going on around me, but I just joined the line and got great results. First, was this game to win a prize, you were had to high five each hand to make points. I won a box of tissues, in the shape of a bus.
Then on to the playful shouting to get you to take photos by the marathon photo vendor. The main draw was this guy:
Then on to the wearable tomato suit made especially for runners, because there’s no time to stop to refuel when you are chasing a PR.
Then on to these beauties, they were handing out spectator noise makers that had a map of the course on them.
Then this guy, I have no idea what he was about.
I played a few more games, Salonpas had a three part game to win big prizes, I won a sample of the product.
The expo also had a massage station, for 1,000 Yen, you got a 10 minute message and a coupon for a discount if you visit the store.
There were also lots of demos and runner discussions, which obviously I couldn’t follow because I don’t speak Japanese, but they were done by multiple vendors. Asics, the main shoe sponsor had a runner evaluation booth, but I sadly didn’t have the patience to wait the hour plus to find out what I needed to fix.
I wandered around the main floor for a while, taking everything in. I loaded up on Tokyo Marathon gear and got my shirt embroidered with my number and name. That was a 2 hour wait.
But I discovered the second level of the Expo and things really came to life. Imagine dozens of vendors all yelling to try to get you into their booth. What a sight to see and experience!
These by far were my favorite.
They performed a few dances then posed for pictures.
Another popular booth was the lunchpack booth, they sold some sort of crustless white bread stuffed with various ingredients and seemed popular with attendees. I didn’t try them, because I was trying my best to stick to the “don’t eat anything new before race day” rule. But I did win a tech shirt from this booth and I can’t wait to wear it.
Ok, I did break the no new eats rule when I tried the bean paste flavored energy gels. It’s an acquired taste, that’s all I’ll say. I don’t know what I was expecting.
I moved on to the vendors selling gear-some at deep discounted prices. I also tried a few of the pain remedies, little patches that are supposed to help with pain. One of the sales guys convinced me to try the healing gel on my neck. It starts of cool and warms up. At first I didn’t feel it, but 5 minutes later I thought I was going to get 2nd degree burns on my neck, which lasted a good 30 minutes. I guess it works as promised, but I really should have tried it on my hand.
Most of the things couldn’t really fit me and my feet were to big for the shoe trials. But I did appreciate the rain coat that Puma gave out in their booth, it came in handy at the start.
I’m glad that I did the expo on the first day, I wanted to take everything in and I couldn’t imagine doing all of that walking 1 or 2 days before the run.
It was a great experience and I wish more expos were as energetic as this one.