2014 Army Ten Miler Expo

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.

atm expo sign

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.

In addition to the shirt ATM runners also received a 2015 calendar

In addition to a shirt ATM runners also received a 2015 calendar

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.

The sparse official merchandise area

The sparse official merchandise area

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?

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25 Responses to 2014 Army Ten Miler Expo

  1. Jennifer says:

    Sorry to hear about your expo experience! I never understand when races run out of particular sizes (especially if there are rules in place about no trading sizes at pickup) and it is unfortunate the shirt was of poor quality – it looks really thin! I hope they fix this for next year (I liked their cotton shirts in years past too). I went to the Boston Expo last spring when I was in town for the 5K, and it was overwhelming – huge/crowded. I am hoping that it will not be like that for NY (but I am guessing it will).

  2. Pam says:

    I have been underwhelmed at expos, but at the big races, sometimes the headache involved with the expo makes it not worth it, i.e. the Dumbo Challenge expo in 2013. (we waited about 1,5 hours in the sun to get in….it was so not magical!). When I first saw your race shirt for the 10 miler,I was quite impressed with the design, but how terrible that they did not have your pre ordered size, and the sleeve length was wrong. If they are going to use poor tech material, I would prefer cotton! Just save the shirt for a tee shirt quilt.

    • The design itself is great, and I’m glad that they had a new one developed since this year was the 30th anniversary. I too would have just preferred cotton, which is what they’ve done in year’s past. I’ll be curious to see if they go back to that next year.

  3. Coco says:

    Gosh, I thought the expo was pretty good, but I’ve been to packet pick ups with nothing else but the bib and t-shirt, so this was a big difference. You are right that there weren’t many free samples, but I think that’s the norm these days for big events. (Imagine how much they’d have to give away to 35,000 runners and their friends and family) Sorry about the t-shirt. It really doesn’t make sense! .

  4. I’ve been hearing that often about people not getting the size race shirt they ordered ( from other races too). If that is the case then why not just say “first come first serve? The first expo I was a little underwhelmed with was the wicked 10K in VA beach. But it was the first expo that I had gone to that was only for a 10K, so of course it was not going to be as grand as an expo for Disney or a Rock n Roll race. The following year it got a little better though. However, the race is amazing!

  5. Lesley says:

    Hopped over from Tuesdays on the Run 🙂

    I was underwhelmed at an expo last year. I’ve been to various Disney expos so I know I was spoiled in that regard, but even the Dallas half I did had a good expo. The one last year had a very small selection for official merchandise and not that many vendors.

  6. That’s a frustrating experience-thanks for being honest though!

    I was underwhelmed with the ZOOMA Chicago expo. Even though there were great free samples, there were really only 6 booths. I was expecting way more

  7. Chaitali says:

    So weird about the shirt sleeves being too short and not having the right size 😦 I hope the race itself was better than the expo.

  8. well that’s disappointing. I had a similar experience at the Navy Air Force Half expo. it was truly underwhelming. Honestly I think with the local military races, they are less concerned with that aspect and more on the race itself. Races like Rock and Roll procure a significant amount of their funds from the race fees and expo assignments. But the military races themselves are such better quality!! hope at least that experiences was good for you 🙂

  9. Honestly, I don’t really care about the expos. I can usually find the same gear online for the same prices. I think expos prey on the fact that people are excited about the race and it’s a ploy for them to make money. And I know it happens. I very rarely buy anything but I have friends that can’t walk out empty handed with stuff they don’t even need. I stay away at all costs usually.

  10. Karen :0) says:

    So sorry about the shirts – I don’t understand that, either. The most disappointing “expo” I attended was at a half marathon last December. I was expecting SO much more…incredibly disappointing!

  11. Pingback: 2014 Army Ten Miler Review | From Dancing to Running

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