With the Army Ten Miler being my last major race of the year, it was also my last race expo of the year. The expo was held at the DC Armory, which was the same place that the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA expo was held. Given how much I’ve enjoyed my previous expo experiences, I was very much looking forward to this expo. Since Preston ran the Army Ten Miler last year, he knew what the expo was like and had warned me that if the expo were like it had been last year that I’d be underwhelmed. Unfortunately, he was right.
Since I proctored the SAT Saturday morning, I was a bit worried about us not being able to go to the expo until the afternoon. My worries wound up being for nothing, as we easily found street parking only a couple of blocks from the armory and didn’t have to wait in the long line of cars trying to get into the parking lot. We waited less than five minutes to get through security. Our first stop once inside the armory was packet pickup.
Both Preston and I immediately walked up to pick up our bibs without having to wait in line. We walked across the test sensors in order to ensure that our timing chips worked, and then made our way to t-shirt pickup, where I found out that they were out of the size shirt that I had requested. Why did they bother to have us select a t-shirt size if they weren’t going to order enough of them? I saw several comments on the Army Ten Miler Facebook page about this same issue, and that this has been an issue in past years as well. My disappointment with the shirts didn’t end with the sizing though. Although the shirts were tech and not cotton like they had been in past years, the material was of very poor quality and despite the fact that I got a shirt a size bigger than I requested, the sleeves were too short.
Preston knew how disappointed I was with the shirt, and suggested that I browse the Army Ten Miler official merchandise and see if there was something else that I wanted. I quickly browsed the merchandise, which was a bit sparse, and decided that it wasn’t worth it.
After leaving the official merchandise area we browsed the expo booths for a bit. Unlike at other expos, there were very few samples to try (just an energy bar and some multigrain tortilla chips). The one booth I knew I wanted to stop at was Sweaty Bands, where we made our one and only purchase at the expo.
After walking around a bit more and being unimpressed with the other vendors, we decided to call it a day. While the expo was well organized and the longest line we had to wait in was to get through security, the expo itself left a bit to be desired. However, I was still excited to be running my big fall race the next morning and to have the opportunity to participate in the 30th anniversary of this annual DC tradition.
QOTD: Have you ever had a disappointing or underwhelming expo experience? Which race was it at?