By Lincoln Son Currie
Boston University News Service
Thousands of runners attended the 2023 Boston Marathon Expo at Hynes Convention Center the weekend before the Marathon and picked up their running bibs in preparation for Monday’s race.
Runner Leandros Mama traveled from Cyprus to compete on behalf of the APOEL Runners Team. He picked up his bib on Friday, April 14.
“It’s a dream to run in Boston,” Mama said. “I represent myself, my team, my country. I’m proud.”
While some like Mama were first-timers, others had run the Boston Marathon before. Tana Kaskalla of Zuni, New Mexico, will be running her third Boston Marathon. She also ran in 2009 and 2017.
Kaskalla said this year was special because her family came with her.
“It means a lot because they supported me through all my years of running from elementary, high school, college,” Kaskalla said. “Just having them here means a lot.”
Kaskalla said another reason for running was to reunite with fellow participants, especially after the bombings at the 2013 Boston Marathon.
Organizing the expo requires many volunteers to staff the event. Keri Rogers, from Southborough, Mass., has volunteered for the marathon and related events several times over the past two decades.
“I love running, but I have a bad knee, so I’m not able to run a full marathon,” Rogers said. “Being a volunteer, you get up close and personal and are able to interact with all the runners. It’s very exciting.”
Rogers said the expo is many runners’ first direct experience with the marathon and all the weekend festivities leading up to Monday’s race. She said many runners get excited to get their t-shirts and see all the vendors at the expo.
Dozens of businesses and major brands – such as Gatorade, Bank of America and T-Mobile – had booths at the event.
However, the firm with the biggest presence was Adidas, the official footwear and apparel supplier of the Boston Marathon. Adidas flew in dozens of sales representatives from stores around the country to promote the event and sell marathon-branded merchandise like t-shirts, mugs, hats and sweatshirts.
Chris Darnell, a team leader at an Adidas store in Cincinnati, arrived on Wednesday to prepare for the expo. Darnell anticipates lots of sales from the expo and marathon weekend.
“This is going to be the most ridiculous volume that we see at any time of the year besides Black Friday,” Darnell said.
The buzz within Hynes Convention Center foreshadows an exciting race on Patriots’ Day.
Mark Maggi, of Cohasset, Mass., picked up his bib on Friday, April 14. Maggi said he was excited about the race, which he called a “26-mile Mardi Gras.”
Maggi said there is not much he can do but relax in the few days leading up to the marathon. He said he was feeling “a little bit nervous” but would have to wait for the race to start for those nerves to subside.
“Once the gun goes off, all the nerves go away,” Maggi said.