I loved reading this because after 9 marathons and countless other races, I have had my fair share of really bad running pictures. I can’t tell you how many times I have been on a major marathon high a few days after the race and then I get the email “Your marathon photos are ready!” I eagerly click as I am always confident that the pictures will be a visual representation of how I felt: strong, powerful (and skinny!) legs. Smiling, yet determined face. A gazelle-like stride – feet barely touching the pavement.
And yet more often than not, the pictures look like this.
Or, I look like I am not even running.
Or I look like I am dying.
So after enough of these pictures, I have adopted a few strategies that help me get the best race picture possible. Maybe you’re like my husband who no doubt has never once thought about a race photographer and just naturally produces amazing race pics (granted, he actually runs like a gazelle so it’s not a fair comparison).
But for the rest of us….take these tips with you for your next race to increase your chances of getting the best picture yet.
First: SEEK OUT THE CAMERA. If you don’t see it, you won’t be able to prepare. And failing to plan means planning to fail in your picture. Typically you’ll see the cameras about halfway through the course and at the finish. When you see that lens, give yourself space. If you’ve been drafting off the person in front of you by creepily running right behind them, distance yourself. Make sure the camera has a chance to see you and your Bib #.
Second: SMILE. I don’t care if you just threw up. I don’t care if your hips are screaming at you and your feet are on fire. If you want a good race picture, you fake it. Shoulders back, big smile. Maybe even do some jazz hands.
Now if your goal is to look like a badass in your pictures, then you must play aloof. Don’t you dare look right into that lens. You are too good of a runner to care about pictures. Shoulders back, abs in, fierce eyes, serious face. Give that camera the cold shoulder.
Third: PICK UP YOUR FEET. If you don’t want to look like you’re walking, then you best do some butt-kicks and lengthen your stride. If you hurt, suck it up. It’s only a few seconds. Pretend you’re running on nails or being chased. Just at least “look” like an awesome runner no matter how you feel.
In the end, whether your pictures look good or not, the most important thing is that you finished a race. You lapped every single person who never got off their couch that day. You stood at the start line and did it not because someone told you to, but because YOU wanted to. You committed to. And some of those nasty race pictures will tell the true story of just how hard these races can be. The ones showing my pain may be my most treasured for that very reason. (But I’m sure not paying $39.99/photo for those (Thanks, Brightroom for your very reasonable prices.))
Best of luck to all the Monumental Marathoners tomorrow. I’ll be there cheering loud and proud and am wishing all of you perfect temperatures and the wind at your back. May your race be what you want and the pictures to tell the story.