The National Running Show 2018 was the first of this new concept, a show all about running. I have been to many expos before races, and this was something completely different, it’s not about the race, it’s a celebration of running. The show had a very different ethos, which created a great atmosphere. People were not there because they had to be, they weren’t there to collect their race bib and then get out. People arrived from all over the country to be there and stay for the duration, and this made the experience so much better than the usual expo vibe.
I was asked if I wanted to be an ambassador for the National Running Show 2018. This was a pretty easy decision for me, it sounded like a great idea and something I most definitely wanted to be part of. I run and talk about it all the time, this seemed like something the running community would embrace, something I just couldn’t miss. I was very honoured to be asked to be an ambassador. I was then asked if I could be part of the show. I have previously done a talk about pacing at a previous expo so I assumed it would be that. It turned out they wanted me to be part of the panel for “meet the experts”. I was happy to help, but was very nervous, especially because of the title, I’m not an expert I’ve just been doing it for a long time.
I arrived early on the Saturday as their was a pre-opening photo with Dame Kelly Holmes and Racecheck. I didn’t know what to expect, I hoped it would be busy, I knew it would be full of people I knew from social media, but you never know until it starts. I was one of the first to arrive and whilst waiting the queue that formed was crazy.
Right from the outset I knew it would be a busy and social weekend.
After the Racecheck photo it was time for the official launch and opening. And then it was time, people swarmed in and from this moment on everything is a bit of a blur. I had my family with me, and I knew Kirsty would be having to entertain the kids whilst I did “meet the experts” so I was mindful of this. The event was full of people I knew and I was 100% there for the social aspect. I don’t think I saw half the stands I wanted to see, and there were many people I didn’t get to talk to, but that was the extent of how busy it was.
It was the book launch for RunMummyRun and the lovely ladies had a prime location at the entrance selling kit.
I tried speaking to them throughout the weekend but they were constantly packed with large queues, so many mummies there to see them that I didn’t want to get in the way.
Immediately in the entrance as you walk it was the refreshing Erdinger stand. It is always nice to see them at an event, and I may have popped to their stand a few to many times. They were doing a competition throughout the show with regular giveaways (I didn’t win).
They also had a comfortable beanbag seating area that the kids kept running back to. Whilst I was chatting Kirsty said she spent a lot of time here.
I spent a lot of time around the Ukrunchat stand. This is where I knew most of the people at the show from. In reality I missed far more people than I saw, I’m really sorry if you are one of the people I missed, I was constantly chatting and just wish I had more time. I made a conscious decision early on not to take any pictures with people. Not because I didn’t want to, but I realised I would be just taking selfies the whole time. I wanted to spend time chatting to people without my phone out the whole time. So all the pictures in this blog I have taken from being tagged in social media (FYI I’m always game for a photo so don’t feel shy if you want one). All the professional looking photos are from Ben Lumley who was at the event working with Breatheunity.
I spent time with CEP over the weekend and got myself measured for some Clonetech recovery tights. I’ve been wearing CEP for years and looking forward to trying out their recovery range. I always spend time with the CEP stand, partly because this is where I usually part with my cash, and also because I’ve got to know the guys in the team.
At midday the Running Awards announced their shortlist for the blog categories. I am so grateful to have been shortlisted for the Personal Blog category. What this means is I’ve joined the top 12, alongside some fantastic blogs. There are many great blogs that did not make the shortlist, so it goes to show that you can’t take it for granted, every vote counts. Everyone is able to vote one more time, so if you want to help me win just click HERE and scroll to “pick up the Pace paul”, it’s in online publications / blog (personal).
I appreciate your support so far and would be very grateful for one more vote to see if I can get one of these .
After making the shortlist it was time to have my first session in “meet the experts”. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it just ended up being more of what I’m used to. Talking to people about pacing and general motivation. I had people ask about Pace, running their first marathon, and advice about nutrition before and after running.
I wouldn’t consider myself an expert in these areas, but I was happy to share my experiences, and point out what worked for me, and where I have made mistakes. We also spoke about their individual experiences so we could pinpoint areas to work on. I was nervous being branded an expert, but very pleased that I went away feeling like I had helped people.
For the rest of the first day I didn’t see much more. I spoke to many more people from the running community, which basically meant I didn’t really spend time at any of the stands. I am very grateful for my family being patient whilst I enjoyed myself and so we left early to take the kids to the cinema and then go for pizza. It was perfect because only 15 minutes walk from the NEC was Resort World which had a Cineworld, so I got the cinema for free with Fitness Rewards. Also there was a Pizza Express that we always use are Tesco vouchers on to basically get our food for free. By the end of the day my kids were knackered and Amelie refused to smile.
I had been invited to the launch of the National Running Conference which I didn’t think I could make because it wouldn’t work with my family being there. It worked out that it was being held just across from the cinema in Resort World so timings meant I could go for a bit. My kids cheered up when being confronted with an arcade and I went to the launch, which was a drinks reception. I didn’t stay for long but there was a great turn out from the running B2B world. I spoke briefly with some of the running industry that were there and I stayed long enough to hear the announcements. All I will say is the National Running Show 2019 is set to be bigger and better.
Sunday morning arrived and it was time to do it all again. The weather was terrible, and the show was not as busy as the Saturday, but it was still packed. I got in early as I wanted to get the free gait analysis that got booked out quickly the day before. I was told the process would take 45 minutes and I decided against it as I had “meet the experts” at 9:30 and I didn’t want to use all my remaining time doing this. My family went on the cinema for the morning as the kids would have been bored after being there all day on the Saturday.
I decided to have a go at the #treadmillchallenge with Saucony as I didn’t get near it on the Saturday. It was a minute run as fast as you can, so I put it on the maximum (level 20), and sustained the pace. It turned out that it didn’t matter how fast you ran and everyone got a medal for taking part, which was pretty cool. I then got a lucky dip, and was amazed to have won a pair of trainers. Apparently they had 10 to give away amongst other prizes and so I have a pair of Freedom ISO on their way, pretty cool.
So this is my reaction after getting off the treadmill and winning. Not bad for 9:15 in the morning.
I then went straight into my second session of “meet the experts” and spoke to more people about running, pacing and motivation. It was a lovely morning, chatting with lots of people.
When I wasn’t talking to people at “meet the experts” I was talking to people throughout the show. There were great speakers throughout both days and there was an amazing audience, much larger than I’ve ever seen at the London Marathon expo for talks. Speakers included Dame Kelly Holmes, Jo Pavey, Susie Chan, Alex Kashefi, Jamie Ramsay, Ben Smith and many more. I didn’t catch a lot of the talks but what I did we’re all great.
There were so many stands I didn’t get to because I spent all my time chatting to people, but there was certainly something for everyone. I managed to catch up with the guys from Fitness Rewards, Run Reigate / Run Gatwick, Ealing Half and Xempo (Pacepockets). The atmosphere was great talking to loads of likeminded people.
I love that Ben took a picture of Sandra taking a selfie with me.
What a whirlwind of a weekend. Overall a fantastic weekend and I can’t wait until next year. I think this is just the beginning and I can’t wait to see what next year brings. I’ve already been told that the space will be 30% bigger, so I expect many more leading brands will want to be involved. The speakers were great and with Paula Radcliffe set to join in 2019 the standard has been set so I can’t wait to see who joins her. I was ready for a run at the end of the expo, but it was great to have people there because of the show and not because they had to be. Next time I hope I can find more time to speak with everyone. So much fun, I can’t wait until 2019. Who will be joining me?