Sunday, 15 June 2014

The Comrades Expo 2014

For me, Comrades starts at the expo. I am fortunate enough to be there on the opening day, while it is still relatively quiet and the Comrades Shop is full of stock.
Gramps and I arrived about an hour after opening and he took advantage of the free Bonitas medical screening on offer - blood pressure (too high on first reading), sugar and cholesterol.

Gramps having his Bonitas medical screening
 Then we hear that Wits Medical School are doing ECG's, so gramps volunteers for that too.
The results aren't immediately reviewed, never mind made available to the runner - can you imagine if you are told that there appears to be an irregularity in your heart beat just a few days before the big race?! The purpose of the tests was to gather information before and after the run to see how many people are affected with irregular heart rhythms and the effects thereof. (The ECG's will be read by a cardiologist and if any irregularities are picked up, they will notify the anonymous volunteer on the email address provided).

Wits Medical School ECG
One of the nicest parts of the expo is walking around and bumping into old friends - Gramps has plenty and we can't walk an aisle without seeing at least 2 people who he knows.

Rob Collins, Green # 477, 36 medals
Gramps and I walked to every stall before getting to the Comrades Shop. He bought himself and Ian a t-shirt and a buff and arm warmers for me. I was disappointed that there was no wine nor glasses this year. The selection of clothing from New Balance was much better (in my opinion) than the previous years. I never bought anything because the Reebok brand was bigger than the Comrades brand. This year the sponsor seems to have got it right and it was hard to choose which shirt or sweater.

And then while Gramps sat sipping tea in the Green Number section, I stood in the queue to get Ian's number.  I have never done this for myself (I have run for charity and so get to collect my number at a different, faster, counter) It did take a long while. The workers did their best to get us moving efficiently but the scanning technology wasn't always playing along. It appeared at the time that I was there that if you had a printed confirmation letter, you got to go be in the faster moving queue.

A selfie in the queue
I loved vibe at the expo and was grateful to have the opportunity to hang out in the Green Number section and rub shoulders with the heroes of the race.

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