Part 1: London Marathon 2013 – Race Expo

Thursday, 2 May 2013  |  Race Reports

With hubby and kids in tow, I arrived in London last April 17, Wednesday, just a few days before the London Marathon on April 21.  We stayed at The Regency in South Kensington.  The kids immediately loved everything about London—the weather, the food, the Underground tube, and especially our hotel room.

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- The hubby and the kids with our hotel right behind them -

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– Missing in the photo: Hugh Grant -

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- If they could, they would’ve stayed in the room the entire trip! -

Since we were to leave for the countryside the following day for my cousin’s wedding, we headed straight for the Race Expo soon after we checked in.  Jetlag? Nah. Exhaustion? Nada. The expo of marathon majors is something I always look forward to.

RACE EXPO

The race expo was held at ExCel International Exhibition at Royal Victoria Dock. It was about 30 to 45 minutes away from South Kensington.

Entrance

First things first, I claimed my race bib, then had my Ipico timing tag checked. Included in the kit was a black ribbon which we were encouraged to pin on our shirts to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing just a week before our marathon.

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- BTW, check out the Skora shoes I’m wearing. They sent me this for the trip. They’re minimalist running shoes but, I must say, they were the best walking shoes for pre and post race. I wore it practically everyday -

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- Contents of the kit. The red bag is the same bag we check in on race day -

I’ve said it many times before. My ultimate dream is to finish the Marathon Majors: Berlin (check), New York (check 2x), London, Tokyo, Chicago, and Boston. (Okay, we can skip Boston for now LOL.) So, when I saw this Marathon Majors exhibit, I just had to stop and pose. Too bad the photo is blurry! Boo!

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Then came the most important part: SHOPPING!  Not just any kind of shopping, but shopping for official marathon merchandise! That’s what I live for!  (Yes, I’m super easy to please!)  The official apparel sponsor was adidas and they presented an impressive range of marathon merchandise. My head was in a whirl while the hubby and kids waited, and waited, and waited.

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- Those are all official merchandise. Drool drool -

Happily, I took these two home with me. Aaah! Love. The. Jacket.

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- There were various shirt designs, colors, and sizes. This was one of my favorites -

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- Just one of the official London Marathon 2013 jackets -

Then, it was time for more shopping. I liked the fact that, since we were in Europe, there were quite a number of running products that were new to me since most products we see in Manila are the more popular brands in the US.

Expo

Test your strength during the expo? No thank you. I chose to reserve my strength and endurance for race day…

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Cute course map by Nestle Pure Life, the official water sponsor for the race…

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Of course, I dropped by the impressive booth of Timex. These guys were responsible for getting me a slot in one of the most difficult marathons to get into for us Pinoys! (Sigh. Don’t ask me why it’s so hard for us to get in via lottery system. I don’t know either.)  They had the Timex Run Trainer on display.  The same watch I was going to use for race day.

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I dropped by Gatorade’s booth and bought my pre-race fuel, race drink, and post-race fuel conveniently labelled with 01, 02, and 03 respectively. I heard Gatorade is working on bringing these products to Manila. Crossing my fingers!

Gatorade

I chanced upon the Knotty Tiger (hilarious name!) from the same makers of Tiger Tail (which I personally use and we offer at TBR Dream Marathon during race day) and immediately bought one for myself.  I think it’s the perfect travel companion for destination marathons (because, yes, I wouldn’t want to lug my giant foam roller around which is probably bigger than my luggage.)

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I passed by other booths of other races too…

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- Left: Uso din pala Zombie races sa kanila? Right: Comrades Ultramarathon, one of the toughest ultra marathons in the world -

There was free massage for the runners. How cool is that?!…

Massage

Free photo that you could pin up on the board alongside other participants. Even cooler…

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I left the expo that evening happy about my purchases and excited about the race.

The following day, we hopped on a train heading towards my cousin’s wedding in Warwickshire, just near Stratford-Upon-Avon where Shakespeare was born.

I saw this at the train station…Waaah, excited!

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- Ssshhh. I wore the adidas jacket na di pa nalabhan. No one knows except for you guys! -

NEXT: PART 2: LONDON MARATHON – A WEDDING, SHAKESPEARE, AND A RUN

Thank you so much to all the people who got me to London! Unilab Active Health for sponsoring the trip. Special thanks to my favorites Enervon Activ for keeping me energized during training and race day and Enervon HP for aiding in recovery. Thank you to Timex Philippines and Timex UK who snagged me a race slot.