At last year’s Tarawera Ultra Marathon, I got involved with the event by shooting the whole run from a competitors viewpoint. My goal was to finish the 100km race while shooting it as well. The results were mixed, I got some great shots in parts of the race that none of the other photographers were able to access, but at the same time I realized how both physically and mentally tiring it was to try and be both a competitor and a professional photographer. I wasted a lot of extra energy trying to get good photographs especially running 20+ km with my 5d mkII to shoot the most scenic section of the course that ultimately forced me to quit at the 85km mark, which as a competitor was actually a very hard decision to make and was very disappointed at not having completed the whole race.
This year, I decided that I was not going to shoot the race again so that I could just focus on running the event, but I did want to take advantage of having some of the best trail runners in the world in town. A few weeks before the race, I emailed Sage Canaday, the defending champion to organize a shoot with him before the actual race. He had really liked some of the shots I had gotten from the 2013 race and agreed to set aside some time for me to shoot him on the Thursday before the race. Originally we had planned on doing the shoot straight after the annual fun run Thursday evening, but when I saw that the fun run was finishing back at the event hotel, I knew that was not going to work, so I asked Sage if we could do it earlier in the day and he was able to fit the shoot in between a couple of interviews that he had scheduled. Here are a few shots from that shoot:
At the annual Tarawera Ultra fun run, we were able to run a fun little loop through the forest and then followed the trails out to Te Puia Thermal park. The organizers of the event secured permission from Te Puia to allow the elite athletes to do a photoshoot in a section of the park that is normally cordoned off to visitors. It was quite fun to shooting the top runners in the world in a relaxed environment where they were just having fun running around in a congo line….
And the last photos I took during the 2014 Tarawera Ultra are some pre-race portraits… This is just the first step in the two step process with these portraits. I will post another blog post with the final images in a few weeks.