Today I’ll be attending the first day of the Run Expo, part of the Swim, Bike, Run and Tri Expo, at Event City in Manchester.  The expo is back again for a second year and is open all weekend, 10am to 5 pm today, Saturday and Sunday.  Today you can grab a free ticket (children under 16 go free all three days), tomorrow they’ll be £10 but a number of different organisers are giving discounts including Xtra Mile if you’ve entered Manchester Marathon or one of their other events.

If you’d like to see who’ll be at this year’s Run Expo just click here and there’s also an  timetable of talks and activities for the three days.  Paula Radcliffe will be attending on Sunday, giving an interview at 14:15.

This blog post will be updated throughout the day and I’ll also try to do a top ten finds like last year.



11:45 am So, just done my first walk around. The expo feels bigger this year, it’s quite chilled and laid back as to be expected on a Friday morning but there’s still quite a few people wondering around. We got distracted by medals, both Liverpool Rock n Roll and Manchester Marathon (which is getting revealed later today.

The running section is pretty much in the same area of last time but check the list for specific companies that cover more than one sport, Power Bar for example are in the tri section. There’s a very useful guide to help you.

12:09 Just met the very charismatic Steve and Simon from Ultra Running Ltd. They’ll tell you all about how to get into ultra running, they have a range of events to try from the Green Man to a 24 hour solo or team event. Enter one of their races at the expo and they’ll give you a free t-shirt.

They’re very passionate about their medals and they have a lot on display that are worth a visit too. They now offer some of their events as virtual too. Look out for the story of Iraq Rainey too if you like a good read but if nothing else go along and have a chat with the guys, there’s exciting stuff coming from Ultra Running Ltd in the next few months.

12:16 Massage the Senses is giving away free head and shoulder massages as well as sweets. I had to test them for you all.

12:30 Just been talking to the owners of a new company called Pinrace which have created magnetic bib fasteners. I’ve seen magnetic ones before that ate a bit weak but these are really strong. There’s some very pretty colours as well as a special set with the Breast Cancer Awareness pink ribbon.

They retail at £8.99 but there’s 10% off at the expo or online later if you pick up a leaflet. They’re also doing a selfish photo competition. It looks like a great product so I’m looking forward to reviewing them at my ultra next week.

12:56 Sean and Wayne are another two characters you want to meet. They’re manning the BV Sport stand with lots of great compression type products. Did spot a great find for the ladies though, capri pants that actually claim to reduce cellulite whilst you exercise. They are being launched in the UK at this weekend’s expo so (unless you’re reading this from France) you can’t buy them anywhere else at the moment.

They retail at £52 which ain’t cheap but I know women who spend more on cellulite cream so it’s certainly something to investigate further.

13:24 Been talking to Matthew and Dwyane from Cannon Ball Events (there’s a lot of funny male double acts manning stalls, been very amused so far). The guys are promoting a range of events including Trailblaster, one of the only 6 hour events in the North of England that I’ve heard of. There’s a 12 hour option to and you can save 10% on entry if you pick up a leaflet at the expo. You can also get 10% off the Calderale Way Ultra too.

I also found some interesting socks at the Sock Mine stand. They’re called Gridlock Inner whisks has silicone lines running through the inside of the sock. It’s meant to stop blisters by taking away any friction and has a really good fit. I’m not sure how they’d deal with long distances but it sounds like a good concept.

14:51 I must have used BookitZone a load of times but I’ve never real thought of the people behind it before. Turns out it’s actually a family run business. If you have Tim go and talk to Emma and Phil because they are really lovely. I liked hearing the story of the logo but Phil tells it much better than I could. They have somethings in the pipeline including the option to have saved details for multiple family members and possible combined fees for entering multiple races.

They’ve also just launched UK Timers. It was a service ran by Emma’s dad but it’s been rebounded and expanded. I think I might need to do a blog post about race timers at some point because it all sounds very interesting but isn’t something I’ve paid much attention to.

15:03 Next we have Openhouse. They’re launching their new waterproof bags at the expo.

The bags come in three sizes and range from £8.95 to £19.95 and there’s 10% off at the expo. They have lots of great features and adapabilities if you’re looking for a bag for your bike or motorcycle but it’s actually the lights attached to them that caught my attention.

The lights are great because they can click to anything, we even worked out that they could be threaded through a fitbit strap. They can flash or reverse the battery and you get a solid light. At the expo they are reduced from £15 to £10 and they come in four colours.