By Vicky Wallace, Fundraising Manager
The London Marathon is always an exciting year for me. Watching the culmination of, in some cases, over a year of people's lives as they pass the Hope for Children cheer spot at Monument is such an incredible experience. Over the next few days, our Team Hope will be taking the first of their final steps on this journey at The London Marathon Expo.
Going to the Expo is more than just picking up your number and timing tag, it’s your first taste of the event itself. The ExCeL Centre is buzzing with excitement so this year I we went along with my boyfriend Matt - who is running on Team Hope - to give you the run-down of what to expect…
It is another little expense but I highly recommend it - hearing people cheer your name as the lactic acid starts to build up in the final miles is a massive boost! When you enter the Expo, you’ll have the opportunity to get your name printed on your t-shirt/vest while you wait. If you’ve already sent your vest off to be printed, you can pick it up by the exit at the very end, so you don't need to carry it around while you're walking through.
From mentality to nutrition to talks from the pacing team, grab a seat and listen to the experts! Martin Yelling in particular gave some great advice for any pre-marathon nerves and how to deal with the dreaded ‘wall’.
As you’d expect, you can find all kinds of products on offer at the Expo. Be sure to think carefully before buying new clothes or shoes in case they rub or chafe on the day. If fuel is what you’re after, you can take advantage of all the free samples to make sure you’re buying something you’ll enjoy. Head to the La Roche-Posay stall for all-important SPF 50 suncream samples!
Treat your hard-working legs to an invigorating massage for 15 minutes (£15) or half an hour (£30). Fear not, this isn’t a sports massage so relax and enjoy!
Pick up your goodie bag at the stand, which includes a wide range of samples from fizzy drinks to fruit loaf. Don’t forget to ask for a few free pint vouchers when you pick up your number at the start too!
Virgin Money Giving have set up a bowling alley at the expo – get a strike and they’ll donate £5 to a charity of your choice (which can include Hope for Children!)
Look out for your pacer
The pacers wear their flags around the expo so look out for yours and say hi! You can also find your pacer online: https://www.runnersworld.co.uk/pacing/pace-team
The expo is full of photo opportunities galore! Take a camera to get some good snaps and remember the experience. Share on social media to boost your fundraising before the big event!
Start thinking about the next challenge you’ll take on! We can get charity spaces in many runs both in the UK and abroad so come to us with your ideas and we’ll help you continue your running journey by setting you off on the next adventure!