Let's talk shopping! (Ooohhh, there goes all the male readership...ha ha. Well, maybe not all of them). Specifically, shopping at running events.
I don't know why more events don't have vendors. Maybe it's difficult to corral them for a day or two. Logistics are not my forte so I wouldn't have a clue as to how easy or hard that would be to organize.
Now, I haven't been to any really huge races. Around the Bay will be my first, and my friend read there will be about 70 vendors there, tomorrow and Saturday. This is EXCITING!
What blew me away back in 2009, when I ran my first half marathon, was the low vendor numbers. The reason I and my fellow running mates were so flabbergasted at the lack of shopping opportunities was because THIS WAS A RACE SPECIFICALLY FOR WOMEN AND IT WAS ON A SMALL ISLAND!
Helloooo! Such opportunities missed for running shops to market their wares! 200 women "trapped" on an island for at least three hours! Of the two booths that were there, my one fellow shop-a-holic friend and I bought items at both of them. There's a certain thrill about buying a new running skirt or cap or arm warmers right before the starting gun goes off. Or maybe we just need therapy. (I do have friends who hate shopping, but I think if a survey was conducted, the number of females who love to shop would outnumber those who don't. We wouldn't have so many fashion magazines and shopping malls if the opposite was true.)
Anyway, despite the lack of shopping opportunities at that particular race, we all returned and did it annually for two or three more years. It was (is) a nice race, after all. Each year, the number of vendors never increased. In fact, it decreased. Maybe one of the reasons was because the race was held on an island, I don't know. Should I say which race it was? I guess that would be OK - the Island Girl Half Marathon on Toronto Island. Beautiful "figure 8" course where you breeze along the boardwalk next to the lake two times. Lovely time of year in September. I did not run it last year (not because of the shopping thing, just signed up for another event) so maybe it's changed since then as far as vendors go.
My friend and I were surprised, last year, to discover that at one event, vendors were there, with their great running wear on a display rack, but were not selling it. "They're just samples," said the booth operator. Seriously? As in "Come touch and feel all the lovely clothes we have to sell at our store but don't even THINK about buying stuff from us today." Am I missing something here?
A great race that does have a nice little boutique-style shopping opportunity is the Prince Edward County (PEC) Marathon in Ontario. Not a huge amount of stuff, but good variety and good deals. Nice "finisher" caps for $10, Great socks for $5. Running jackets you can get customized with the lovely PEC marathon logo. And a beautiful, flat race course through the countryside as well. That one is in October.
Funny story about a change of plans for this weekend that stars two shopaholics (me and my friend). (Background in case you haven't read the previous blog, "Race Day Humour Therapy": We are in the 30K Around the Bay race. We are staying overnight on Saturday. Very excited to get down early on Saturday and shop the 70 vendor booths before Sunday's race.)
Here's the gist of it:
My friend texted me this morning, cursing because her son's rep hockey team tied the last game and now has to play Saturday afternoon. She cannot miss it because she is the team trainer.
She says,"That means we won't get to Hamilton until about 5 p.m."
I say, "That means we'll miss shopping the vendor booths."
OH NO! After an emergency logistical meeting over coffee, we worked it all out. We are going down there tomorrow to pick up our race kits (a two hour drive) and shop the booths. What's a little extra gas? You never know - the perfect running skirt/top/pants/hat/arm warmers etc might be waiting for the perfect owners!