I know a lot of my local races are small and do only a packet pickup. Actually most of them do bib pickup prior to the race. A larger local one, run by the local runners’ club, did do a day before pickup this year at a local establishment. I would wager a bet, though, that most people still grabbed the bib right before the race.
On the other hand, the Greater Binghamton Bridge Run is a more cosmopolitan race. It draws from out of the area more than the smaller races in the area do. I would expect a bit more than just a packet pickup. After having experienced the race this year and having loved it, I want to say what I think would help in the area of packet pickup or expo (truly probably not worth a full blown expo).
At this year’s pickup were the actual bibs. Then, you were given a bag with a cowbell in it. You could choose one of two different sized water bottles. Then, all the little things that would normally be already stuffed in a bag at a race expo were on tables for you to pick up. There were also tables from the race’s charity sponsor, from the local running store (but no merchandise to sell, signs to make), from the local running club, from a local radio station and from the minor league baseball team. The race’s apparel sponsor had a table set up with merchandise for sale.
I’ve been to races with smaller numbers that have an actual expo. Suggestions would be as follows:
- Pre-stuff the bags with items such as course map, shirt, cowbell, etc. Do not make runners stuff the bag as they go through. Many missed a raffle card for a new pair of shoes from local running store.
- Showcase more local businesses. Open this time up to all kinds of local businesses: restaurants, library, all things. This would require a larger venue.
- Find more runner specific businesses who want to sell items and turn this into an actual expo. Think outside the box: other races, specialty stores, online merchants.
To be able to do all of this, a different location would be necessary. This is doable by having an official hotel and a couple small banquet rooms.
What do you look for at a race expo? What have I forgotten?