I’ve been to a lot of expos over the years, mostly as a runner, but also as a volunteer handing out bibs, directing visitors, and generally milling around. Yesterday was my first time as an exhibitor, or should I say, “hawking my book,” and this is the way I saw things:
Runners love to talk running, I mean Love To Talk. They are passionate, enthusiastic and want to share their stories. I talked with girlfriends who were running their first half-marathon together, a guy from Pittsburgh who gave me a tip on an obscure race in upstate Pennsylvania that began in 1908 called Run for the Diamonds, runners from Boston and New York City, a guy whose sister qualified for Boston at Steamtown the same year as I did, and a gentleman who didn’t begin running until he was in his mid-fifties and was a 10 Star Titanium (qualify by either running 52 marathons in 365 days, running a marathon in 30 different states in 365 days, or running a marathon in 20 different countries in 365 days) at the young age of 63. I loved his energy!
After I finished selling books, I milled around and talked with the manager of Philadelphia Runner who had read my book, the sales staff at Eastern Mountain Sports, and the Race Director of the Bermuda Marathon, who I told that I placed third in my age group in Bermuda in 2006, my first running award ever.
Walking back up 12th Street to my Jeep last night I realized that I spent more time talking with runners and their families and friends than I did selling books, and I really didn’t care. I had a blast! The Expo reminded me why I wrote the book to begin with–the passion of the sport, the brother and sisterhood.
I’m not sure that runners go to an Expo to buy books. Still I’m glad that I went because I got to see that familiar glimmer in the eye, from the other side.