Yesterday I travelled from Baker Street to Custom House to visit the Virgin Money London Marathon Expo. Runners have to attend the Expo to collect their final instructions, race number, kit bag and timing chip.
I planned ahead and studied the layout (i.e. the exit) of the Expo. I knew what I needed to buy and set myself a spending budget. This enabled me to enjoy the Expo and stopped me wasting money on running gizmos I don’t need.
I arrived at the ExCeL centre soon after the Expo opened its doors on Wednesday. A few hours later I was back at Baker Street.
The journey from Baker Street to Canning Town was uneventful. At Canning Town I ignored the crowds of runners heading in the wrong direction, and jumped onto a DLR train heading towards Beckton. Three minutes later I arrived at the ExCeL centre.
I was slightly disappointed that the London Marathon music wasn’t playing as I entered the Expo. The music was playing when I left so I guess I was just unlucky. I joined the queue to collect my number and got talking to a really friendly bloke from Striders of Croydon. I hope your knee holds up Martin!
I had my identity checked, signed my registration form and collected my final instructions, number and kit bag. A word of warning, this year the kit bag is see-through and small. I then joined a short queue to get my timing chip activated (I still have no idea how I managed to miss this part of the process in 2008!) and headed into the main area of the Expo.
I posed with the Sporting Life marathon trophy and spent an enjoyable couple of hours wandering up and down the aisles. Although the Expo was quiet, I managed to resist the temptation to sample the various energy bars and gels that were on offer.
I located the CEP compression stand and purchased a pair of black calf sleeves. These will be tested after I’ve (hopefully) completed the marathon on Sunday. I then headed towards the exit and picked up a slightly disappointing goody bag (what happened to the free can of London Pride?) and made my way towards the London Marathon Virgin Money Lounge.
In order to escape the Expo you have to navigate through the London Marathon Virgin Money Lounge. This area was actually great fun. I had my photo taken next to a giant replica of the 2016 medal and entered the #OneinaMillion competition. I was even brave enough to have my photo taken inside one of the photo booths.
After a couple of hours at the Expo I’d seen everything and decided to make my way back towards Baker Street. The Expo was getting busier and my knee was starting to ache. The journey back to Baker Street was quite eventful. The Jubilee Line train I caught at Canning Town got trapped behind a defective train. As a result we were stuck in the tunnel between Westminster and Green Park for over 30 minutes. Hopefully this doesn’t happen on Sunday morning!!
Now that I’ve collected my number and timing chip I feel far more relaxed about Sunday.
Did you enjoy the Virgin Money London Marathon Expo this year?
Do you prefer to collect your number, timing chip and kit bag and leave ASAP or do you prefer to spend hours mooching around the various stands?