Mini Marathon packet pickup starts today

Published: .
Updated: .

The 500 Festival Mini Marathon is set for this weekend. And today is "packet pick-up" day. Saturday, thousands of runners will put weeks of training to the test.

But first, you have to get all those goodies that come with the Mini Marathon.

The Mini Marathon Expo starts later today at the Convention Center. This is where those running or walking can pick up their numbers, get their t-shirt, and find and lots of coupons and other offers from sponsors and vendors.

And there is always something new. This year, it's a faster way for runners to track how well they did.

"On the runner bibs there are QR codes," explained Megan Bulla of the 500 Festival, "so you can take a smart phone and runners, at the end of the race, can scan their QR codes so you no longer have to wait in line at the post race party they can scan them immediately and get them from their bib."

Runners can also register for tracking, where you can keep tabs on runners via Facebook, Twitter or e-mail.  Doing so lets you know when they cross the finish line and where to meet them after the race.

This is an exciting time for the 36,000 participants who'll run or walk one of the 13.1 mile or 3.1 mile courses. And the 500 Festival tries to make it fun, too. 

As popular as this race has grown over the years, this year, although a sellout, took longer to fill. So now you can sign up earlier than ever. "We're reviewing everything for this year," Bulla said. "You can actually sign up for next year's race - 2014 - starting at expo this year. So you can get a jump start before you even race this year sign up for next year."

The Expo is open to everyone, so even if you're not signed up for the race, you can shop and enjoy the excitement.

Packet pick-up begins today at 4:00 p.m. and runs until 8:00 p.m.  Friday, runners can pick up their packets from 10:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. at the Convention Center.