So last time we spoke, I was just about to go thru passport control after landing in Rome. Got my passport stamped and I was ready to go.
First thing I had to do was catch a train from the airport to Roma Termini and drop my bag off at the hotel.
After about 15 minutes of waiting and a 35 minute train ride, I finally made it to the main train station in Rome. Roma Termini. My hotel, a cute little hotel/hostel called The Beehive (more about them in a future post) was literally 5 minutes from the station, however I was tired, dragging a huge suitcase and wandering around without GPS for over a 1/2 hr trying to find this place. I asked for directions, I walked in circles, seriously, practically in tears, and finally had to use my cell phone t0 call (who knows how much that cost me!) to get directions. And to find out what? That I literally walked around it about 5 times but just never crossed the street. Seriously?!? Wow…
You’ll find I like to digress some, ok, a lot and I have to say, this was one of the toughest weeks, without having access to my cellular data, (I literally am never without it due to my job) no gps, no iMessage, no Instagram likes, facebook responses, nothing without wifi. How did we survive, without all this technology??
Ok, now back to our regularly scheduled program.
The Maratona di Roma Expo was held at the Palazzo dei Congressi, which was probably about a 15 min ride on the metro, blue line. Another quick digression, I’ve lived in Italy, I speak relatively fluent Italian with a decent accent, enough to get by, I am 3/4 Italian with dark hair, people were speaking to me in Italian from the moment I stepped off the plane, asking me questions, even though, I have as good an idea as they do, it was hilarious. I say this because, I’m standing in line to buy my metro card and this couple is asking me all sorts of questions about which line to take, etc. like I’m a native, it was really funny.
So I took the Blue metro toward Laurentina, getting off at Eur Fermi, it wasn’t really clear to me at least which way to go, so I asked someone and off I went. After walking about a mile (give or take) I started to see people with red New Balance bags. I came up on the back of the expo, where the vendor check-in was and saw the cutest Maratona di Roma Smart Car (according to my cousin, a native Roman, there are like over a million Smart Cars in Rome).
Arriving at the expo, I was there pretty early so there weren’t many people there, I saw photos from others where that red card was completely full.
Inside the expo, it was pretty much like a normal expo, the only thing that was different in this race was that women’s bibs were in a separate section, at the end of the line. I should have remembered this for race day, but I didn’t and it was an issue the morning of the race. Just like here, pick up the bib first and then your shirt/bag at another booth.
There was a spaghetti lunch available but I wasn’t that hungry so I skipped it and headed into the expo portion of the building. The red carpet continued throughout. The expo itself was split into a number of different sections, first up, food & beverage samples, I skipped past this part, because there weren’t a lot of samples and most of the items were processed, not really things I’d use.
Then you walk thru an area with other races – there were actually a few sections with other race options, my favorite was the Kenyan Tourism board booth. I literally laughed out loud as soon as I saw it.
I kept following the red carpet to where the shoe booths were, all the big names, New Balance (sponsor), Brooks, Mizuno & Asics had booths, along with some of the other big sponsors for the race.
The expo finished up with a charity section. Right outside was something I love, the first time I experienced it was at the Nike Women’s 1/2 Marathon in DC. It was a wall with all the names (in alpha order) of the people participating in the marathon – so cool :).
The swag bag was pretty cool, they gave us a 20th anniversary New Balance backpack, a New Balance tech T-shirt and some pasta. The backpacks were used for gear check too.
The expo was Thursday, Friday & Saturday, and all in all it was pretty nice, I had read a few reviews where they commented that things were a lot different, but it seemed pretty similar to me. There were a lot more booths for area races, but I guess with the proximity of so many different countries, it’s kind of like us with states. With the exception of the big race companies, it’s normally local or near-by state races that exhibit at the expo, there other countries are as close as California.
I was glad I went after I arrived because it was a bit of a ride over and I wanted to relax after my shakeout run & tour with The Roman Guy on Saturday.
Have you ever done an international race? Was the expo similar to those in the States or completely different?