I attended a running expo as a volunteer and leaned some interesting things. Below is a pictorial.
First of all, expo is a sort of trade conference for runners that takes place two days before the race so runners can meet other runners, discuss strategies etc. There are also vendors that hawk their products during the expo.
There were maps placed around the expo so one can familiarize the course they are running.
Runners, some of them along with their coaches were seen standing in front of the maps and discussing strategy.
Maps displayed every tiny bit detail of the course including where the water stations are located, bathroom facilities and also important landmarks of NYC. (There are lot of runners flying from other parts of the country and across the world)
See the inclines including various peaks and valleys depicted in the picture above.
A wall showed the names of all runners participating in the race. A great photo op for race participants.
There were distributing free race bands. You can pick one that matches your target pace. Here is one example. Let's say you target to finish your half marathon in two hours and forty minutes, the race band displays what mile you should be at what time. This way you know that either you are running too slow that you may not reach your target and therefore you have to pick up your speed OR you are running too fast for your targeted time and you may run out of gas before the finish line so you better slow down now. I thought this was a great idea.
There were also additional virtual meetings for discussing the course, pace and time strategy with experts.
These people are called pacers. They will be running the course carrying this placard. They are experts of this course having run the course multiple times. In this case, this pacer runs at 9:09 minutes per mile. If your pace is around this number then you can just follow him. He knows the course quite well and he knows exactly when to slow down and when to speed up (considering all the peaks and valleys throughout the course) so you can maintain overall average pace of 9:09.
There were many pacers for different paces and you can pick one that closely matches your pace. Their corral/starting place is also displayed at the expo so you can ask to be assigned to the same corral.
These pacers were also seen answering questions about the course from other runners and they were giving so much details about the course including the turns, where to stop and take a selfie for a great view etc.
Of course, nothing screams 'America' like a free beer at the end of the race. There is also a running joke (pun unintended) that most people run a marathon so they get a free beer when you finish.
Anyway, the visit was truly inspiring for me. I could see how runners take their craft seriously and put in their 100% in order to achieve their goal. (Like many in RHWB). I also met bunch of people who have run NYC marathon for decades, also people who have run other marathons (Tokyo, Berlin etc). I highly recommend all serious runners to attend one of these expos and you will find them quite valuable.