Thousands prepare for marathon at expo

Alex Kazarian of ShoeCue stands in front of his booth with his employee at the Boston Marathon Expo on April 13, 2019. (Photo by Erin Ko/BU News Service)

By Erin Ko
BU News Service

BOSTON — The excitement of countless runners, attendees and exhibitors filled the Hynes Convention Center this weekend, with a greater Expo turnout than last year, as the city prepares for the annual Boston Marathon.

Charlotte ter Haar, a runner from Chicago, said the overall energy of the runners was beyond inspiring. “I’ve been a runner since I was 12,” Haar said. “The Boston Marathon has always been a dream of mine.”

The Boston Marathon Expo is a three-day event where runners can pick up their official bib numbers and browse through various exhibition booths. In addition, attendees, whether marathon participants or not, can discover and purchase gear and test new products provided by exhibitors.

More than 200 exhibitors attended the event.

Alex Kazarian, of ShoeCue Athletics, said the Expo is a great way to increase exposure to runners and sports enthusiasts. “It’s my third time at the Expo,” Kazarian said. “It’s a good and fun environment, and we are seeing a lot of excitement from customers.”

Kazarian added that the wrong shoe cushioning can weaken a runner’s feet. ShoeCue sells insoles that are designed to improve running techniques. The insoles stimulate the feet, which not only decreases injuries, but also increases running efficiency.

Another exhibitor, Anthony Pong of Caterpy Laces, said the Expo was a good networking event. In addition to increasing sales and brand awareness, Pong and his employees were excited to introduce their products to a large crowd.

Caterpy Laces is a brand that produces no-tie shoelaces. The elastic of the design holds and controls tension per leg strike, said Pong. The shoelaces also prevent a runner’s feet from numbing and slipping while avoiding choke spots.

Free CPR classes are being held for runners who may need assistance during the marathon at the Boston Marathon Expo. Boston, April 13, 2019. (Photo by Erin Ko/BU News Service)

Another exciting element of the Expo was that the cue to pick up bib numbers decreased. Specifically, runners were able to receive digital number pick-up passes before heading out to the Hynes Convention Center. Many found the process to be smoother and more efficient than that of previous years.

Patricia Castaneda, a runner from Mexico, was one of many who favored the new system. “Sometimes you can forget your paper work,” Castaneda said. “It’s great that all you need is your phone to check-in.”

“The process was really efficient,” Yin Sze, a runner from Malaysia, said. “There’s usually a long cue, but I did not wait in line for too long.”

With a greater turnout than the 2018 Expo, many attendees shared their distress with the overly crowded venue. Long lines formed in front of the Hynes Convention Center which extended to over two blocks.

“The Expo was great, but it was super crowded,” Dominic Martinez, a runner from Colorado, said. “It was really hard to move around and get to places.”

Although it’s expected to rain on Monday, the weather doesn’t seem to stop the runners from enjoying the marathon.

“It definitely took a long time to get here,” Erin Arnett, a runner from Ohio, said. “The excitement of the runners motivates me because it’s a celebration.”

The Boston Marathon Expo is an annual event held the weekend before Marathon Monday. This year’s expo was held at John B. Hynes Convention center at 900 Boylston St.

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