'Seed Of Hope': Fitness Expo Prepares Runners For Sunday Marathon

The two-day event at the Oklahoma city convention center showcased speakers and more than 60 vendors who featured products and services geared towards runners, walkers and health and fitness enthusiasts.

Saturday, April 27th 2024, 12:28 pm



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The Marathon Health and Fitness Expo kicked off the Memorial Marathon weekend at the Oklahoma City Convention Center. Runners and guests visited the event to prepare for the races.

Everybody that walked through the doors of the expo had a reason to be here.

“To challenge myself physically,” said one runner.

“I've walked the marathon six times, now I do the half marathon,” said another.

“It's nice to remember the people who lost their lives,” a man running two events this weekend said.

The two-day event showcased speakers like Joan Benoit, the first woman to win the marathon in the Olympics 40 years ago. She’s run the Memorial Marathon for the past few years. The event also featured more than 60 vendors who offered an array of products and services geared towards runners, walkers and health and fitness enthusiasts. However, Expo Co-Chair Sara Sweet says the event is for everyone.

“There are a lot of health vendors here so you can get information about how to stay healthy and then there's also fun stuff, treats and hair tools,” Sweet said.

One fun area that drew a crowd was a “Bublee Pop,” where those young and old could enter a huge clear plastic globe full of green and white balloons.

“It's just a way of expression, to show we're here, out of something horrible came something beautiful,” said Bublee Pop owner Brian Martinez.

Martinez says the pop-up balloon activity is his side gig but does it with intention at the expo, to remember those who died including his father, Rev. Gilbert X. Martinez, on April 19, 1995.

“The reason I’m here is to kind of express a seed of hope for people who go through a tragedy like this, there's always in the end that sense of hope and resiliency,” Martinez said. 

Within the expo is the “Why We Run” area where runners and visitors can learn about those killed in the bombing. It’s here where runners can get the “in honor of” bibs and write down the name of someone to remember. Sweet lost her father, Steve Williams, in the bombing and participates in the marathon each year. She recalls one year seeing a stranger with her dad’s name on their bib.

“It was so wonderful to see that other people are thinking about those who died and they're really honoring the reason that we're here to run this race,” Sweet said.

A run that will always be to remember.

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