Raleigh, N.C. — Hundreds of people packed the Raleigh Convention Center Saturday for the Health and Fitness Expo ahead of Sunday's Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and Half-Marathon, and many of them came looking for the latest technology designed to help them improve their times.
More than 100 vendors were in attendance, offering everything from compression socks to harnesses that hold cameras and heart-rate monitors.
Jon Phillips, one of the many vendors in attendance, spent the morning using a specialized treadmill to help fit people for perfectly-designed running shoes.
"There are different categories for shoes based on weight, based on support, based on cushion," he said.
Anthony Hall also spent his Saturday morning working to sell harnesses that can hold a video camera, GPS unit and heart-rate monitor.
"If you're watching your video, you can see yourself watching a ramp, see heart rate and G-Force spike, and when you come down you sett it all on your video," Hall said.
Marc Laverne, who is participating in Sunday's event, came to the Expo looking for compression socks that are made to improve circulation and, hopefully, half-marathon and marathon times.
"I've heard a lot of good things about them from friends," he said. "Thought I would come here and try them."
Laverne joked about the $55 price tag.
"It's an apparel, not a sock, right?" he said. The expo is free and open to the public.
About 25 percent of the more than 12,000 people registered for Sunday's race have never completed a half marathon.
Race course, concert locations
The marathon begins and ends in the heart of downtown Raleigh, and runners will wind their way east to Chavis Park, north through the Oakwood neighborhood before making a turn to the west. The course passes William Peace University and Cameron Village.
Runners of the half marathon make the turn on the campus of North Carolina State University and head back to the start/finish line. Those who choose to run the full 26.2-mile marathon continue west on Hillsborough Street and past PNC Arena before circling back downtown.