Wednesday 28 October 2015

Beachy Head, Cambridge 10k and Water of Life Half 2015 galleries now live

The old lighthouse Belle Toute, Birling Gap, the Seven Sisters and Seaford Head in the distance

Another year and another wonderful Beachy Head marathon and 10k Saturday. Just like the competitors we also have to be there from the early first starters to when the light runs out, so it makes for a long day concentrating on work and managing the weather. This year again it was thankfully without heavy rain, but quite a strong headwind in parts.

Sun on the stonework of Kings Parade Cambridge, at the 3k mark on the course with Kings College Chapel, plus big tree that now obscures it perfectly. It's grown about 5m in the past 30 years. Somewhere I have a photo from 1985...
Sunday saw the Water of Life Half Marathon and 10k organised by Purple Patch near Marlow, and the Cambridge Town and Gown 10k organised by Muscular Dystrophy - both missing rain as well - even with bouts of sunshine - periodically reflecting brightly off the Cambridge College stonework along Kings Street (just to make the camera settings extra tricky!).  Returning to Cambridge and sitting on a finish line on a path I cycled to school on for the best part of 6 years is a surreal experience. The very slight uphill that is hidden under the trees also managed to catch a few people out as they ran out of puff into the finish - it always caught me out on my morning bike ride too...

Links to the galleries are here:

Latest Weekend Race Name Gallery link
Sat-24/10/2015 Beachy Head Marathon and 10k
Sun-25/10/2015 Cambridge Town and Gown 10k
Sun-25/10/2015 PP Water of Life Half
. . .
Last Weekend . .
Sun-18/10/2015 Chelmsford Marathon
Sun-18/10/2015 Abingdon marathon
Sun-18/10/2015 AAT Kellystore Guildford
. . .
Next dates for your diary . Gallery and link through to websites to enter
Sun-01/11/2015 The Veteran Car Run
Sun-08/11/2015 PP Grand Union Half
Sat-14/11/2015 Brutal Long Valley
Sun-15/11/2015 Back 2 The Trenches
Sun-15/11/2015 The Brooks Brighton 10k

Beachy Head Marathon and 10k
Personally I have to confess to not looking forwards to the challenge this year, I had some extremely busy work days in the office leading up to it so was mentally drained by friday night, but on the morning my spirits were lifted slowly and surely as friendly well known faces and friends crested the first hill I was at after Jevington and said hello, stopped for a chat, shared hugs, and enjoyed the moment and the prospect of the challenge ahead. Many I hadn't seen since last year, but had kept in touch with on facebook. Proper face-to-face always beats face to screen !
This lifted my spirits a lot, ready for 6 hours on top of the Beachy Head, where again one by one runners and walkers made it onwards on upwards to the finish, many through gritted teeth of pain and tiredness, but not giving in.

The atmosphere at the finish is very different - because they have done it ! the look of relief and completeness is visible, the ability to lift the last bit of energy to run hard into the finish line noticeable. The beast that is Beachy Head once again conquered for another year.

The rest of the SSP team seemed very upbeat through the day, and whilst my batteries lasted in my phone, we had a gentle stream of text messages to check-in with each other to see where everyone was up to around the course.
That is assuming we could get a phone signal. I have to admit that for all the safety signs and messages of help on the carparks on Beachy Head with the respective telephone contact numbers - I still cannot believe just how terrible the phone coverage is in that area. OK, there isn't much in the way of houses or shops, and half of a masts reception is out to sea, so commercially it may not stack up for the phone companies - but it is critical that the phone coverage works in that area, and it simply doesn't.

Here's the quick selection of images from the weekend in no particular order, as ever, it's a difficult choice to make, not least because I don't personally see them all, and what is interesting for the blog, simply might not be picked out by one of the team.

Cambridge 10k raising funds for Muscular Distrophy
The gathering on Midsummer Common

Some of the event team ready on the day

All go - off up Victoria Avenue, past Jesus Green

Over Victoria Bridge, a single span cast iron listed bridge built in 1890. It's quite unique

Leading out the race along Kings Parade

A nice bit of MD Orange outside Kings College

He forgot to wave, she started a bit early, as the tourists took in the views.

Flying down the river at 7k 

Strong Italian Contingent brought their flags for a good finish

Fast finishing in the womens race for a Gown win this year.

Tight sprinting in at the end to overtake the unsuspecting

The traditional MD Balloons lined the finish line

Purple Patch Running - Water of Life Half Marathon and 10k
A Great start in the main race

The Kids fun run was very competitive

Tapping into the charity fundraising fancy dress sponsorship thing

strong finishing

Pedro's winning margin was approximately this wide

Good running in the 10k

Flying in with a double thumbs up for the 10k win

Always prizes galore at PP events

matching podium and race numbers !

Beachy Head Marathon and 10k

He pushed out for an early lead that was still on at 4 miles through Jevingdon

Paul had his mojo well prepared for this one

1148 didn't make it back home for the Cambridge 10k the next day

He knew Ben M-D wasn't running so was in for a good club placing
Up and over the 4 mile hill at Jevington

It's all going so well so far

the course slowly asserted itself

Trip-trapping across the troll bridge as fast as possible

The hills are indeed alive.

oops friend #facepalm

Amateur v professional. Where would you go to get a photo of the horse ? At the style, or when they are running ?
It's all in the timing though - did you see the two finger bunny ears on 769 ?

Gooseberry Photobomb 

Good to see Natasha enjoyed another run out

Yes, Taxi to Cuckmere Haven please..

Ashford & District Tri club all forgot their bikes

Hitching a lift after he lost his shoes. Don't blame him.

Bob the invincible mixing it with the 100clubbers

Pretty much how you should feel when you get this far and it's still not rained

Turn your left hand round and put the lens in the palm of your hand. It's much more stable.

Beachy Nightfever

Post 10k euphoria

Well done Roxi and team on making the course

*That* hill

Every year this marshal saves thousands of runners with their first bottle of water on finishing. Top work.

Sasha was proudly wearing what money can't buy after completing the marathon. Yes a SSP Buff.
So next weekend is the London to Brighton Veteran Car run, which looks like it will have good weather at the moment. It's another 12hr day with the first cars going off at dawn from London and we have 7 photographers moving along the course to catch all the action as it happens. I'll be at the finish line until Dusk, so if you want to come and distract me or shout over the sound of the car engines in the hope of having a sane conversation - I'll see you down on Madeira drive !
A younger me, in the fog, smoke and steam at Madeira Drive. See you there, if you can see me...

until next time

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Abingdon and Chelmsford Marathons and Kellys Challenge Run 2015

Abingdon and Chelmsford Marathons and Kellys Challenge Run 2015 - Galleries now live

The Start of this years Chelmsford Marathon 2015
(without press photographer in the way - he's panicking just out of shot on the right, after he was told to move before the start but didn't because it was "his job to be there". Clearly didn't do his Risk assessment, which is also his job to do!)
Three popular races last Sunday in what looks like the last of the perfect running conditions (if the weather forecast for next weekend is anything to go by) - the flat marathons of Abingdon and Chelmsford and the very hilly Kellys Challenge Run (5k,10k and Half) at Guildford.
All the races went of smoothly, and very well organised ones they were too !

At the Kellys Challenge Run competitors had their race photos for free via Pic2Go system direct to their facebook galleries. Pictures were going out live during the race itself (and a few after they had crossed the finish line too!). over 10,000 images uploaded and sent out - if you ran it you can still register to claim them now (click here). With over 180,000 image views so far, 1963 likes and 343 comments - Kellys are raising even more money for their charitable causes using pic2go to get everyone involved !

We also had a World Record (awaiting verification) at Abingdon from Jessica Bruce and her son going for the fastest marathon with a buggy and baby. 3:17:51 isn't a bad time is it ? search on #715 in the gallery to see how she got on !

Next weekend is the beast that is Beachy Head Marathon, and also the Cambridge Town and Gown 10k and the Water of Life Half Marathon (which is near Marlow). I think there are still places available for the latter two so go through the gallery links below to get to the event website and get entered ! The weather forecast has turned a bit, so get yourself into these races before the last chance and winter really starts to bear down on things...

Gallery links for you to see, comment, view, download and of course - buy and remember your achievements with:

Date Latest Races Gallery Link
Chelmsford Marathon

Abingdon marathon

Kellys Challenge Run - free pictures
Free image downloads using Pic2Go for live images during the race - still available.
. . .
Date Last weekends events Gallery Link
Sun-11/10/2015 Warrior Run - free pictures
Sun-11/10/2015 Herts 10k
Sun-11/10/2015 Chichester Half
. . .
Date Next events Event Weblink via gallery page
Sat-24/10/2015 Beachy Head Marathon
Sun-25/10/2015 Cambridge Town and Gown 10k
Sun-25/10/2015 PP Water of Life Half
Sun-01/11/2015 LBVCR Veteran Car Run - London to Brighton
Sun-08/11/2015 PP Grand Union Half

Most of the races we cover are half marathons, so when we get into October and we have a couple of marathons, it does take a lot more for us to prepare and also get organised, rested and prepared for. Just like for the runners, on the day it is much much longer to be working on site, it's not 4 hours and then back to the office - it is the whole day on site, from being there earlier than all the runners, to leaving only after the last one has finished. Accordingly - what we see more of at marathons than at other races is the sheer joy and relief of finishing the race and achieving their goals. Trust me when I say that after a long marathon of a day, we also share in that joy and relief !

Usually at races we are just in front of the finish - because people are running at their best as they run in before the stop dead on the line, and it makes for the best action shot, but sometimes - like at Abingdon - if we have the space we will go just behind the line to get *that* moment the line is crossed and we can capture it for the runner.
A lot of the time the will have their hand or arms blocking their race number as they reach to stop their GPS watch, but with the results and a big clock in the picture - we can usually work out from the results what their race number is to sort out the cataloguing.
Check out some of these "look of relief" in the selection below from Abingdon and Chelmsford, you'll see what I mean !

All go and looking forwards to another marathon at Abingdon

All going at the start of the countryside loop
Good work from the Paras XC team
Good pacing through the market square

Nothing like a good high five

Good running back along the river route for the first lap

I think Kate is stalking us after her win at Basingstoke 2 weeks ago

For the win

Sarah nailed it for the sub 3

yes yes yes !

At last the relief !

Groin strain ? don't do the stretches in front of the remote camera !

Ruling the world feels like this !
 Chelmsford Marathon
perfect weather for a run in the countryside

Jumping for the joy of running

Good work Andy for a great charity

Guy was hitting the wall

There were some "looking forwards to it" and "not so sure" faces at the start

Crispian zoomed up the course for a win this year - no doubt we will see him at Brentwood again in March !

Tony, nailed this one

The pain and joy of a marathon

Good running to the finish. Shin pads optional ?

The skis had slowed him down so he ditched them and smashed the course instead !

Great work from CJ and CLaire

#missed - if you're going to reach out to give a high-five, try to look up from your phone and reach the runner ! #fail
 Kellys Challenge Run
All getting warmed up before the kids race

pro tog tip - never ever get in the way of a determined 6yr old

plenty of K9 support on the walks

Running through the woods on the course

tricky track running

Up the hills into the woods

Top running around the fields down the slopes

Quite busy at the start !

Good warming up for the Half Marathon and 10k

You can see the Hogs Back and the route descent along the hedge line in the distance

Emily was double checking her decision to enter her first 10k as she climbed the sandy path back up the hill

Top marshalling in the woods

A fantastic setting for running at Loseley House returning to the finish

Small mini rant - today I've had three salaried journalists phone up ask for free photos for their news item or race report from events we were not paid to cover. All their productions charge for advertising, some even charge for people to buy their venerable missives - and they all told me that they "don't have a budget for photos, but they could offer a credit". 
Why for the love of photography, my team, staff and photographers, and my family would I let any of our photographers hard work go out for free?

Here's the real news salaried journalists - if you value the image enough to want to print it, then you value it enough to pay for it. Weigh up the costs of your time searching off to find someone else with a different photo for free, and you could have saved your company time, money and improved your output rate by just paying us. Easy, simple, professional and no hassle. I'll accept that your previously employed staff photographers might not have got the shot, but now they are redundant they certainly don't have it. Your company used to pay someone for this service, so why have they stopped ? Because images are of no value any more ? no, because you're spending time phoning up our office and asking.

That quick pro-tip goes out to everyone out there who takes photos for your club, match, children, tournament, race, charity event - anything really. Make sure you are paid for your images ! If someone can be bothered to phone you up and ask for your image, it is worth something.

When you're at work - do you ask your suppliers to give you things for free ? Things that will make your company profit better ? Like photocopy paper, or CNC machining, or stationary, analysis, marketing text, websites, product design, or do you just tell the staff "it's ok we're not going to pay you but we will give you a credit in the monthly report?" ? Yes !! they'd go for it !! surely ?

It's ridiculous, and you should all know this one simple thing - if the paper or journalist really does like your photo - then they will pay for it. We're not talking huge amounts here, but £50 isn't an unreasonable amount to ask a professional publication as a starting point when it's taken over 6hrs to go, get, process and prepare an image. If you're in doubt about the market rate - check rights managed images on 

Don't be fooled by gullible flattery, having your name credited and printed in the paper really isn't worth the paper it is printed on, and the journalists at these papers know it. More fool me if I ever give a photo away for free (exactly how would I get a professional photographer to ever work for me again if I did that ?), and the same applies to every photo taken by anyone. 
If in doubt - ask the journalist if they write for free, and take your lead from that.
You're worth it, your photo is worth it, and your time and effort, skill and luck (usually in equal amounts), is worth it. (and if luck is not worth paying for, what's this lottery winnings thing all about eh?)
mini rant over...

Next weekend 
Right, I'll see some of you at the flat bit on Beachy Head on Saturday, possibly in the rain, so make sure you're wrapped up well, and stay safe and enjoy it, but don't hide your race number (or I will cry), the wind will be on your back at that point anyway. Please look out and after the rest of the team - as it's a wild and difficult race to cover, and would someone - you probably - please make sure that Sally working on the finish (for about 9 hours) has enough to eat and is ok too. Thank you !

Otherwise have a good run at the Water for Life Half marathon or the Cambridge Town and Gown 10k - both fantastic charity races. I'll probably be in the Fort St.George at Cambridge afterwards reminding myself of working in the kitchen there 30 years ago... doesn't time fly !

Photographer at work, and getting ready for winter by the looks of things. Give him a wave and put your best runners face on if you do see him.
Until next time !