Saturday, November 2, 2013
while the 2012 nyc marathon was cancelled in the wake of hurricane sandy, there was a 2012 marathon expo. that expo, sans an actual marathon, was in the pre-boston bombing era. this year the experience was vastly different. i'm not sure if it was a because i went on friday, instead of the typical thursday trip to the expo, or the heightened security (principally individual baggage exams) that resulted a monster line that stretch across the front of the javits center - just to enter the building! either way, the place was a crowded madhouse.
since my flight back from paris landed at jfk thursday afternoon, i wasn't able to get to the expo on the first day. i noticed plenty of marathoners on my flight home - as well as jfk itself, waiting to get through customs. most of my friends went to the expo thursday, so i missed socializing with them. that was a major disappointment.
on friday i was completely caught off guard by the sheer number of runners lining up just get into the javits center. this was my 12th nyc marathon expo and i've never seen anything approaching the line to enter the expo. not only did it stretch outside the building, but once inside it was folded over on itself 3 times before arriving at the actual baggage inspection - then onto the actual entry line! the only saving grace to this experience was the line kept moving... don't know if it was the time of day, the day itself, or just plain bad luck - but that experience was ridiculous!
once inside, the actual bib and shirt pick-up went quickly and smoothly. but the bane of all these expos was the final gauntlet - where you're funneled through the official merchandise store before being permitted to actually enter the expo proper. of all the hassles this is truly the most crass bit of commercialism runners are forced to endure. if it was an easy path to zip through, i wouldn't care. but having to zig, zag, and maneuver around every soul inspecting those souvenirs as if they were somehow the holy grail was exhausting.
for every person who wants to stock up on official marathon merchandise, i bet there are at least 2 who couldn't care less about it. it wouldn't be hard to have an entrance that bypassed the official store. it just wouldn't be profitable :(
hopefully the 2014 expo will be a less trying experience...