The Health and Fitness Expo at the Masonic Care Community Campus is the first stop for Boilermaker participants to kick off race weekend. That’s where runners pick up their registration packets, as well as lots of goodies and maybe a Boilermaker shirt or cap.
If you're running on Sunday, you can still pick up your packets here at the Health and Fitness Expo until 7:00 Friday evening and then again Saturday from 9am until 4:30pm.
Each packet includes a bib number and a chip that keeps track of the time it takes to cross the finish line. This year is the first time that 5K runners will also be timed by computer chip.
It’s a normal routine for the old-timers but the new runners are pretty excited to get their packets. Packet distributor Jack Kitty counts 123 boxes with about 13,000 packages to hand out. Hopefully most will be gone by Saturday afternoon. If not, the remainder can be picked up about 6:00am Sunday at the start line.
The last step for more than a few registrants on their way home is a stop at the merchandise tent. This year, the assorted memorabilia boasts a unique 30th Anniversary design. Merchandise includes t-shirts, tank tops, fleece and sweatshirts. With a record crowd of over 12,000 runners, many are shopping early to make sure they get something special to remember the 30th year.
Over the 3 day event last year, Boilermaker merchandise brought in about $100,000. That number is expected to grow this year.