I went to the expo on Friday. It is held at McCormick Place. You can get to the expo by public transport, but it’s not super easy. Therefore the marathon organization had arranged for shuttle busses to take you to and from the expo from downtown Chicago. I got on the shuttle bus near the Nike Store, but they had two different shuttle busses (one from the Nike store itself and the organization shuttle busses). Took me a bit to figure out which one was which and more people seemed to be confused, but after that it didn’t take long to get on the regular shuttle bus to the expo.
I had a special bib for this race, an Athletes with Disabilities bib. Most marathons hold to the Paralympic standards when it comes to disabilities, but the problem with that is that they do not recognize all disabilities, they mostly recognize the more obviously visible ones (which I still think is ironic for an organization that wants to include everyone in sports). Besides being in a certain Paralympic category your disability has to be permanent and it has to impact your running. So, I argued with the organization that I did qualify for the last two, just that the Paralympic committee didn’t recognize my disability. After a little back and forth they agreed that I classified as an athlete with disability.
At the expo I could pick up my bib at a special booth, so picking up my bib was very easy. After that I needed to go to the far end of the expo to pick up my bag and t-shirt. This also went very smooth. But after that the expo became a bit more chaotic. Since I like marathon merchandise I went to the Nike shop, but they had very few smaller sizes left. So, I only left with one t-shirt after having to stand in a very long line.
I walked around the expo a bit more and visited the Aftershokz booth where it was pretty busy.
And I picked up two pairs of Goodr glasses, since they have more styles for sale in the US compared to Europe. I also had to pick up some extra running kit since the airline had lost my bag and they weren’t sure if they could return it to me before race day, so just to be sure I picked up an extra Flipbelt, Feetures socks and Tailwind Nutrition since all of those were in my suitcase.
I’m not entirely sure why but I found the expo to be more chaotic than the one in New York. Maybe that’s because the expo is two days, instead of three days. In New York it seemed to be easier to find certain booths and often the booths were bigger and had more options. Therefore, I didn’t get everything I had hoped for at the expo. Brands just didn’t have certain products with them or sometimes items were already sold out.
But the biggest problem was the shuttle back. There were very long lines and since they often went around the corner it was hard to figure out in which line you were supposed to be. So when I did make it to the front of the line I was in, it turned out to not be the line I wanted, but I also didn’t want to get back in line for the right one since I had already been waiting for an hour.
So in the end I went with the line I was in and decided to take the subway from there, since I had a ticket to see Hamilton that evening and I didn’t want to be late. Unfortunately, the girl driving the shuttle bus wasn’t sure where we were supposed to go in downtown Chicago and it took us a while to finally get there. Luckily, I did make the show in time.
On Saturday I went to the Nike store again hoping they would have smaller sizes. They did already drop the finisher gear the day before the race. But still no luck on smaller sizes, I saw lots of women running around trying to find a Small or X-Small. Nike, you really have to change this! Not all runners are a size Large or X-Large. I went again on Monday morning when the store opened, but even then they still didn’t have everything that I wanted in my size. But in those three trips I did end up with 2 t-shirts, a long sleeve and a jacket.