Nation's Tri blog

RnR Expo Dustin_small

From a high perch, most race expos appear as candy-colored hybrids of yard sales and kite stores. Banners with brand names arch over the tops of the booths, and everyone has something to show you at their tables.

At the Rock ’n’ Roll USA Marathon expo, you could register to win free race entries to other events, grab a massage, test compression gear and sample nutrition products.

I walked past the Powerbar tent a few times — try the cola-flavored chews if you can find some at your local running or multisport store.

Clothing and shoe vendors make expos a priority, and the events are great places to talk with representatives from the companies. These people can give you a good idea for which of their gear will fit your needs.

People at the Rock ’n’ Roll expo who needed to try on new shirts and shorts got to use converted porta potties as changing rooms.

And as silly as it sounds, sometimes buying new shoes on the spot becomes a matter of necessity. Consider that about half of the 25,000 registered entrants for the Rock ’n’ Roll race arrived from outside the Washington, D.C., metro region.

RnR Expo Top View 2_smallAnyone who’s traveled for a race can relate to forgetful packing or lost luggage.

That travel aspect also means you can meet people from all over the country and the world at sports expos. Talk to the other participants there, and make some new friends for pre-race dinners or post-race meet-ups.

Expos will sometimes bring in speakers for injury prevention talks, race tips, or general life stories from pro athletes.

Next up for the Nation’s Tri crew — we’re at Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh this weekend. Hello, North Carolina!

Already locked in for this September? Stop by our table and show off your Nation’s gear from previous years for some free swag.

Dustin Renwick

During his first triathlon, Dustin thought the run was a little long. “A half mile to go,” spectators said. Over and over. Race officials had misplaced a turnaround cone, so a scheduled 4.4-mile run became a 6-mile slog through temperatures in the mid 90s. But he stuck around. He concluded four years as a hurdler and decathlete for the track team at St. Ambrose University and then joined the University of Missouri triathlon club team in graduate school. Dustin finished his first half Ironman race in 2013. This year, he’s back for a second season with the National Capital YMCA YTri Team, where he serves as one of the running coaches.