Woo Hoo! I was selected to be the race photographer at the inaugural running of River of No Return Endurance Runs. At least that was my initial reaction when I was given the job. Then I started to get nervous as race day neared. I know, I know, I wasn’t running, so it’s not like there was that kind of pressure on me. But I want to produce a good product: race photos that tell a story and capture the emotion of participating in an ultra-running event.
I usually know at least a few of the runners that show up on race day since we train together from time to time. When I see those familiar faces, I get plenty of smiles for the camera, and share a few moments of chit chat before the race starts. Some runners prefer to take some moments alone while they get emotionally ready for the challenge ahead.
When the race started, I photographed the runners as they circled the track and then left out of town. I drove ahead and tried to position myself so that I could be ready as the runners passed by.
With nervous tension finally released, the runners were all smiles (including the race official) and began their day-long conversations that would carry them through the many miles.
I moved on to one of the aid stations and began scouting the area to find a nice location where I could photograph the passing runners. The aid station was at the site of an old ghost town and had some preserved buildings that were great for a background.
As the runners came by, they were still in great spirits. With these kinds of distances, and the runners having just run about 3 or 4 hours, they hadn’t yet gotten tired or cranky. There were lots of smiles and many of the runners raved about the wonderful scenery.
I saw a number of runners taking out their cameras and photographing the scenery and buildings. I even saw one runner who decided to photograph me while I was photographing him.
I stayed at this location for a few hours and then moved to the finish line to photograph the runners as they finished their individual races. The finish line was decorated complete with large inflatable finish line, race banners, and awards table.
Because there were different distances being run, and the runners each had their own pace, the finishers arrived at different times throughout the day. It gave me an opportunity to focus on each runner individually with wide-angle shots and also some close-up shots while each runner crossed the finish line.
There were as many smiles as there were grimaces as each runner was finally able to come to a stop upon crossing the finish line. Capturing the emotion of the runner when it’s all over is an event all its own. As much as I like seeing the smiles, I do enjoy seeing the aftermath of an accomplished, but utterly spent runner.
If you’re thinking of taking on a new challenge, check out the River of No Return Endurance Runs (www.runchallis.com) . You’re sure to get your money’s worth and, who knows, you may become the subject of a great photograph representing this challenging race.
If you would like to see more race photos visit the gallery: http://tempusphotodesign.com/ronr2014.