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Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Hurtleberry and HONC 2013 galleries are now live

Hi there ! Images from the latest two events we have covered are now online here :

Event Gallery Link

The Hurtleberry
Duathlon and 10k Trail Running

Hell of the North Cotswolds MTB

The Hurtleberry is a new event - an off road MTB and trail running duathlon around the North Downs hills in private forestland. To say it has everything would be an understatement - hills, technical drops, long runs, sweeps and rises, and of course a tricky little matter of a 10k run. As with all new events it will shape-shift into something even better next year - suffice to say the entrants this year had a great time.

The HONC, or Hell of the North Cotswolds is an 100mile or 50mile MTB endurance ride around the Cotswolds near Cheltenham. With over 1000 riders every year including river crossings, hills, slopes and a few roads, it's one of the larger MTB gatherings on the National Scene.

As it happens, I've only got images to hand for the blog of the Hurtleberry - so here they are....(in a minute)

This weekend coming, apart from the London marathon, on Saturday it's the Clandon Park Run and Sunday the Raw Energy Pursuits Bluebell 10k and 10m. Both of these are now sold out - so no joy there if you've missed out, but if you have made it in - both events have free race downloads - so you'll be enjoying those just as soon as we can make them live.

Right, here are some photos, and after that a few thoughts about the incident at the Boston Marathon.

The race was open to the Borg and humans

yep, down the hill in the background, and up the bigger one in front of you

Friends can just give you that push you need sometimes

Awesome free tshirt !

Volunteers make the drinks go down - they were here from 8:30am to 2:30pm

Getting some air and twisty handlebars

Bigger wheelies, and a suitably surprised face

Bunny Hopping the way out

wider trails as well as the narrow twisty ones made for a mix of terrain to test yourself on

Branch manager and young assistant branch manager

Concentratey knee down face

I didn't have the heart to tell him that was the wrong way
Misty trail running in the Forest - always good for the soul

Editorial Comment
It would be wrong not to at least make some mention of the Bomb attacks at the recent Boston Marathon on Monday as it so clearly involves the running community of which we are all a part.

Terrible terrible events and tragic for those that were injured, killed, hurt and psychologically scarred or directly or indirectly involved, and my thoughts go out to everyone effected by it. As someone who spends two days a week usually sat right next to finishing lines just like that one - I would be lying to say it hasn't made me think twice about my job. It's a bit like watching your office blow up.

My first reaction, after watching the news hit via twitter, and then switching onto BBC news channel was to see such a familiar sight (the finish line at a race) descend into chaos. As is my habit on TV footage, I started looking for the photographers at the race finish line - and there I could see immediately 2 photographers, just like me, probably working for sat almost next to the blast. One is on the right, and the other was directly opposite on the other side of the road. It takes a while for the second one to react, but after that the footage doesn't allow much more tracking of how they manage in the situation. I hope they managed to cope ok and do whatever they could in the circumstances. Fortunately it doesn't look like they were injured.

In other footage I've seen people helping and running up to the barriers after the first blast and you can see clips where the people helping have two or three cameras over their shoulders - helping to shift the barriers that were in the way, clearly they were press photographers getting stuck in to physically help as best they could. Very well done to them all, the emergency services, marshals, military, runners and medics who all responded as fast as possible.

Photography is about being in the right place at the right time, but usually and hopefully, for the right reasons, and not in the wrong place at the wrong time for the wrong reasons.

Yesterday I saw an interview with a Press photographer John Tlumacki from the Boston Globe (he took this shot), who was in the right place, but at the wrong time. The interview was on the BBC, who was asked if he had helped the victims. He explained his reasons for continuing to take photos by pointing out the emergency staff were getting on with their job and he had absolutely no medical or first aid training, so he did his job of recording the events. The BBC interviewer (and I'm sorry I can't find the footage, I think it was Paxman) then carried on giving the guy a grilling over not helping out. Really ? was that necessary ? In our society the fact that someone can, is allowed to, and will for the benefit of the many, bear witness to events and to record them, is an important pillar of the freedom of our society. (and I'm not talking about the privacy / paparazzi / harassment / morally wrong debate).  The irony of a journalist questioning the photographers priorities and job wasn't lost on me. John was helping the victims - just not medically. If his shots help to communicate the tragedy, provide evidence for the investigation, help identify victims or indeed criminals - then he is helping, just indirectly, to the prevailing tragic situation, and that's good enough for me.

It was very professional of John to have kept his focus in the interview, reiterating that it was his job to capture the events as they unfolded, to document in pictures, and to record for historic reference, as well as to communicate to people what happened, hopefully so that in the future we can learn, understand and grow together. It's no surprise that all footage and photographs available are being requested by the investigation to help with the analysis.

I hope I could keep my act together as well as John did if anything like the tragic situation he witnessed happens in front of me (or indeed if Paxman ever interviews me), and I hope I could do something to help directly - but if I'm ever the least qualified person to help in a sea of doctors - I hope I'll have the sense to stand aside, do my job as a photographer, and help indirectly by recording the scenes. We can all help in our own small and simple ways.

With that point made and my thoughts with all those involved at Boston, and with a mind to rewriting my risk assessments, in the meantime I hope I can stick to my main goal of recording peoples achievements and happier moments of their lives as they make it round on that run, that race, that ride, or indeed to that finish line, by being in the right place at the right time with my camera.

At the end of the day I'm just a photographer. Hopefully our work does bring a bit of happiness and somehow helps people indirectly with their lives. If it doesn't then that will be the day to stop.

Well done everyone at Brighton, and good luck to those of you doing London.

Until the next time, when I see you at a finish line, our thoughts are with you Boston.


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