Space Coast Marathon Expo Recap

I think I’m finally ready to write about this race, so here it is. My first marathon recap. Sort of. I’m starting with the Expo.

As you may remember, I was terrified of this race. I thought I wasn’t ready. I thought I might not finish. I had missed training while I recovered from what I thought (read: undiagnosed and googled to the hilt) was plantar faciitis.

The Expo

The Expo took place in a ticketed area of NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex. We had been emailed a free parking pass in advance, which saved us the $10 parking fee, which was welcome. I remember reading something about a discount to the Kennedy Space Centre itself, but I sure as heck could not find that information again when I went to look for it. Nor could I find an address to punch into our iPhone’s map for navigation purposes when it came time to head out to pick up our packets.

Let’s just say the website for the Space Coast Marathon could use a bit of a clean up. My brain hurts trying to find anything I’m looking for.

In order to get to the Expo, you had to pick up an admission ticket from a table of volunteers outside the entrance. When we got there, they were out of tickets, so we had to wait for them to bring more. Let’s just say that elbows were flying to get the tickets once they showed up.

Ticket Pick Up Table, after the mayhem.
Ticket Pick Up Table, after the mayhem.
We entered through here...
We entered through here…

When we got into the Expo, it was clear the organizers were not prepared for the volume of people picking up their packets that day. I gather they’d assumed that most people would have already gotten their packets during the week previous, from the local running store, Running Zone.

Like SARDINES, I tell you
Like SARDINES, I tell you

Not so much.

The volunteers were pretty overwhelmed. The pickup tables were in the middle of a round alcove, and thanks to the lineups you kind of had to guess where to go since they had put the bib number range signs on the face of the table. You know, well below eye level, perfectly blocked by the many bodies pushing in to get their bibs.

Just hoping I'm in the right line.
Just hoping I’m in the right line.

And I do mean “pushing”. The same couple cut in front of me THREE TIMES. Once when I was in line for my bib. Again when I was being handed my clear bag check bag and then they attempted a third cut when we were in line to activate our chips. Greg had enough with those two. They started to step in front of us right as we were at the front of the line, acting like they didn’t see the long queue that went all the way back to the door, and Greg educated them to the fact that there was, in fact, a line and he was tired of them cutting in front of us. We didn’t see them again.

Race Day logistics.
Race Day logistics.

We went into the rest of the Expo to get our race shirts. More pushing. It was jam packed, and we were over it. I honestly could not tell you what booths were at the Expo, because every corner was full of bodies. We got our shirts and got the heck out of there. Didn’t spend a dime.

Race Medals for the next 5 Years.
Race Medals for the next 5 Years.

We walked through the exhibit that was also housed in the building, took a few photos, and headed out of the building. We were herded towards the exit by the two very assertive NASA park employees who were trying to ensure that no one got out to the rest of the exhibits without first buying admission. They weren’t able to catch everyone, but they sure tried. I don’t think that people were trying to get away with anything, I think that a lot of people genuinely didn’t know they needed to purchase separate admission. Especially since we had to show an admission ticket to get in to get our race kits in the first place.

Couldn't stop us from seeing THIS.
Couldn’t stop us from seeing THIS.

We all agreed that the Expo was a shambles. A fiasco. A zoo. A singularly unpleasant experience. It made us worry about on-course support and race day organization. We all decided then and there not to leave our hydration belts behind on race day.

Now, enjoy this video compiled by my lovely Black Friday purchase, my Canon ELPH 330:

Next up: Race Day!

Race Reports Running

4 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I heard the Expo was apparently a space capsule simulation of what it feels like to move around in close quarters! 😉

    That’s really too bad it was such a mess. I will say, I completely agree about the website. It reminded me of one of those bargain discount store newspaper ads, where the artist crams every picture and written content on one small page. Sometimes less is more.

    • We were so glad to get out of that darn expo!
      And the website makes me bonkers – I honestly could never find what I was looking because I’d start to go cross-eyed with all those columns of text. Gross.

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