The Militant, after a long hiatus, found himself at the Los Angeles Convention Center's West Hall on Friday evening where the McDonald's Quality of Life Expo (a sponsorship name which is either really ironic or really refreshing, depending on your view), the annual pre-Marathon show where participants either pick up their race essentials, do last-minute registration, purchase athletic gear, grab tons of freebie samples or get info or resources on health-related companies or organizations.
The Militant, having done the Acura Bike Tour in 2007 but skipped this year due to a lack of Militant funds, was only there for the freebies.
There were electrolytic drinks, flavored nutritious gel, energy bars, nuts, flavored pretzels, fruit and fruit juice samples galore. Of course, the event was free and open to the public and not just open to Marathon participants (unless you wanna drive to the Convention Center and pay the $12 parking fee, which the Militant obviously didn't have to do).
But for those running the big race, running the small race or entering the bike tour, it was either a routine task, or for those doing it the first time, a validation of their dedication to the event. Some posed for pictures outside the hall proudly holding up their race bib, knowing they will partake in a communal Los Angeles tradition along with thousands of others, simply for the thrill of participating.
The Militant also picked up a poster-sized sign (yes, also free) for spectators and supporters to egg on their favorite runners. One of the Militant's operatives will be running in the Marathon - for the very first time - and he wishes her the best of luck.
And to that, for all you runners, walkers, wheelchair racers and cyclists out there:
The McDonalds Quality of Life Expo continues Saturday, March 1 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.