My first Virgin Money London Marathon Expo experience

VLM numberYesterday I headed to London for the day for my first London Marathon Expo experience!  Luckily, as I’m hopeless with cars, buses, trains or organising any form of transport other than running/walking, a friend from club, Laura – who has already run London twice offered to go with me!

I was gutted that the London Marathon music wasn’t playing as we walked through the doors, but as we were leaving it came on to give me a quick shudder!  All the pictures I had ever seen of people queuing for their numbers at the entrance never gave me a realistic impression of just how big this part of the expo was.

VLM marathon number collection Laura getting her VLM number

As we had been walking in we were randomly talking about Ant & Dec (can’t remember why!)I love the line from Bill Nighy in Love Actually – “Why thanks, Ant or Dec” and I said I’m not sure that I would know the difference between Martin Yelling and Tom Williams after always associating them with Marathon Talk, together.  Literally minutes later and I spun round to almost walk into Martin Yelling.  And yes, I did realise which one he was!

We took our time – methodically wandering up and down the aisles and looking at every single stand.  One stand showed hundreds and hundreds of different race medals – there were some amazing ones there.Medal makersI loved all of the medals.  There were so many pretty ones!  I especially liked the Enigma ones though, and it did attract my attention when I realised they were held only up the road in Milton Keynes.  I’ve already checked though and all current races are already sold out.  :(

I couldn’t tell you how many energy drinks/protein bars/gels I tried, but it was a lot.  As in, probably 20 minutes after arriving my mouth was craving some plain water so I had to give trialing nutrition a little break for a while.  So glad we decided to come down on the Thursday and that I wasn’t testing all of these out the day before the race!  Winning the place this year really worked out well for me as this year it fell in the middle of the school holidays so I had time off before the race to visit the expo and time off after to recover without returning to school the next day!

NutritionMy favourite were these ‘Stinger’ waffles, which I’ve never seen in shops before so bought six of them.  One which I shall be enjoying after my race on Sunday!

honey waffleI struggle to eat real food after a race – especially when you are given bars where you have to chew a lot.  My go to after running is usually a glass of milk to make sure I’ve got something inside of me before I can stomach food again quite a while later.  However, these waffles are very thin and almost ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ so I’m pretty sure I would be able to eat them after runs – or during long ultra runs.

London marathon treadmillThere was an area where you could run a mile of the London marathon course.  The screens were linked up to the treadmills so that they moved forward at your current running rate which I thought was very cool.  After watching a mile of the course we had our photos taken holding our numbers (I had to stand up on tiptoes to get me and my number in so no idea how shorter people coped!  Jumped?!) and then were given two copies of our photo.  One to keep and one to place on the photo wall for Thursday with a handwritten message of good luck.

VLM marathon wall

We also used a red shoe stamp to stamp onto the shoe wall before writing our goal time and names onto the shoes.

Shoe wallBoth of us properly made the most of the day and entered every competition going (10+!) and took photos of everything!

I also picked up a London Marathon training top.  As Laura said, I don’t know if I’ll ever get the chance to run at London again, so I need to make the most of it!

VLM training topI love the top and was glad I bought it when I got home.  It’s relatively lightweight, with thumb holes and very breathable material.  Can’t wait until I can start running in it after the marathon!

VLM training topRandomly, after my run on Wednesday night I was stopped heading into Tesco.  I was wearing my red Mablethorpe top and a guy stopped me to ask where Mablethorpe marathon was.  When I told him it was in Lincolnshire, a couple of hours away he looked disappointed so I asked him if he was after a marathon.  When he told me he was I promoted Milton Keynes on the Bank holiday weekend which he said he was going to go away and look up!  There’s marathon runners everywhere!

Been/going to London marathon expo this week?
Ever met anyone famous?
 – My most memorable famous meet was being sat next to Frankie Dettori at a school riding club meet and chatting away about school riding competitions and the horses in the event, completely oblivious to who he was until he went to collect his daughter and a parent from my school came running over screaming at me about how lucky I was and wanting to know what tips I’d picked up!  I hadn’t been expecting to see anyone famous at a school event!  Quite glad I hadn’t realised who he was at the time though otherwise I would probably have just been one of those weird people that stares and says nothing!

20 thoughts on “My first Virgin Money London Marathon Expo experience

    1. Thankyou! Yes, the buildup was so exciting. I had so much support from friends, family and bloggers. Such a great event to say I’ve taken part in.

  1. Wow, those treadmills look like fun – they weren’t there the time I went to the expo! It was really busy as I’d only been able to travel down the day before, so it was a bit much for me and I had to leave after only a short amount of time…not long enough to spot anyone famous and thus embarrass myself in front of them anyway 😉

    Ooh, it’s all getting very real now, no? I will be watching on the TV and keeping an eye out for you!

    Jess recently posted…Race Recap ~ Asics Greater Manchester Marathon ~ 3:27:37My Profile

    1. I keep seeing loads of bits I somehow missed up on other people’s blogs – gutted. Will have to make sure I spend even longer looking around next time.
      Hope you enjoyed watching on TV. I’m about halfway through the coverage now. Making it last! :)

    1. I’d never heard of them before. But I shall be hunting them out in future. One was enjoyed directly after finishing the marathon on Sunday!

  2. I reeeeaaally want to do London now. It just looks amazing!
    I have that running top – though obviously not official London marathon version. Just a plain dark blue one. It’s one of my favourite training tops. Love the thumb holes. But it is quite light weight. I tended to have something else underit during winter runs.
    Big huge good luck for tomorrow!! Xx

    1. I came away yesterday wishing I could go back and run it again this weekend. I’ve really got marathon fever right now!
      Might be wearing my training top for an easy 2/3 miles today. Can’t wait! I do have one top with thumb holes, but it’s quite a thick top and I heat up very quickly, so never wear it for long. Love keeping the bottom of my hands warm though because they take a little while to heat up when I first start out.
      Thanks for the good luck wishes! :)

    1. Thank you! And for your tweet in the morning as well. Such an amazing day. The recap is up now but a lengthy one, with possibly a few more reflections to come today/tomorrow!

  3. Hey Mary

    I found your blog whilst looking around.
    Our stand was the one with the big medal wall you mentioned. I just wanted to say thanks and I’ve posted a link to your blog on our Facebook page.
    If you’re down for the expo this year it would be great to see you.
    Hope you are well and thanks agin for the mention.

    Regards Rob
    Digital Marketing Manager for Running Imp International

    1. Hi Rob, thanks for stopping by and also for adding a link to my blog on your Facebook page. :)
      My friend and I spent ages on your stand checking out the medals and deciding which races were definitely worth entering for the bling!
      Unfortunately I’m not down for the expo this year (not a runner this year, only a supporter) but will be sure to check you out next year (feeling optimistic about the ballot already!)

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