Hundreds of runners stood in line Thursday for the doors to open on the 2012 Rock and Roll Marathon Health and Fitness Expo. Once inside, they picked up the all-important race bibs, the key to the party for 17,000 plus runners on Saturday.
But they also wandered through rows of booths and exhibits for all types of running merchandise. From running clothes and shoes to nutrition and gear, the expo offered the latest products. It also offered a mental kickoff for runners.
"When you get to the expo point, you know it's on," said Amber Robertson. "We have trained hundreds of miles and spent hours in training."
But one expert cautioned those new purchases may not be smart for this weekend.
"No new products," cautioned John "The Penguin" Bingham, a noted author and lecturer. "Hold those items until Sunday and then try them. People come to these shows and try to use something instead of whatever they've had through all their training. No new products."
Whenever they incorporate them, runners spent plenty at the expo. Kristin Graham admitted spending "a couple hundred dollars".
"This is amazing. Everything you could possibly need is here. I'm a professional trainer and this is paradise."