Saturday, July 2, 2011

A team race for the long haul

It's been a couple weeks since I've had a chance to post here, and there are several reasons for that, some of which I don't care to delve into. One of them, however, is the basis of today's post: The inaugural running of the Park2Park Relay in Hendricks County, a race I alluded to in recent previous posts when I did a sort of "recon" of the 64+ mile course, taking photographs along the way.

The June 25 race, whose photography coverage I coordinated on behalf of the Indy Meetup Photo Club, is now history. Race organizers were blessed with a beautiful day; it was sunny start to finish, and temperatures never inched past 80 degrees. We had 15 IMUPC photographers spread across the expansive course, over which teams of six runners each took turns running 3- to 5-mile segments of the course's 18 legs so that, by race's end, each runner had covered an average of about 10 miles. Each team was allowed to have one team vehicle on the course to pick up the runner finishing an exchange, drop off the next runner and transport the non-running members to the next exchange point.

The race started at 6:30 a.m. in McCloud Nature Park in northwest Hendricks County, just southwest of North Salem. It was not a smooth start (top picture); one runner tripped over the rubber matting at the start line, causing runners around him to dodge around him as he hit the ground. The course finished at the county system's newest jewell, Sodalis Nature Park, in the southeast part of the county, not far from Indianapolis International Airport. Two teams of cross-country and track athletes from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind., finished first and second overall, less than 4 minutes apart. The first-place North Salem Bank team covered the course in 6 hours, 9 minutes and 57.4 seconds, the Wabash Redpack in 6:13:49.6. The last team crossed the line at around 5:40 p.m. with a time of 11:10:08.8.

Thirty-seven teams finished the course. I was among a handful of those 15 photographers who followed the race from start to finish, taking the pictures along the way. My shot total numbered in excess of 1,000 images. What you see here are a few selected highlights of my shoot.

Above: This shot is of three women -- each on different teams -- on Hendricks County Road 625 North about midway through the fourth leg of the relay. The two women closest to the camera had been walking when I approached them on the highway from behind, but they started running when they saw my camera when I emerged from my car after pulling off to the side of the road to shoot them from the front side, which I did. I sensed they'd resume walking after passing me, and indeed, they had when I turned around to grab this silhouette, looking into the eastern sky, where the sun was still rising. They were tired already at this stage -- and it was only their first of three legs of the day. 

Above and next two below: The shot above is aimed primarily to capture the isolation and separation that evolved among runners not long into the race. The two runners in the back were an interesting story. Only the woman with the BIB (015) in red shorts (also in closeups below) was an entered participant; the other must have been an acquaintance who joined her friend from start to finish for the duration of the legs that her friend would run this day. I decided to approach this apparent kinship in a silhouette monochrome as well.

Above: The race organizers decided to toss a "surprise" obstacle into the course with this steep gradient climb in the heart of Blanton Woods Park in Danville. This is one runner as he begins the ascent.

Above: This shot attempts to illustrate how exchanges were made during the event -- when one runner ended his/her leg and the next took over. Runners on the course were required to carry a baton, and much like a track relay race, they had to exchange the baton with their teammate within a certain exchange zone at the exchange point. This team above also exchanged high fives at the transition along Hendricks County Road 250 North that ended Leg 8 of the race.

Above: The original course had runners going through two large and new subdivisions between Danville and Brownsburg. By race day, for safety reasons, the course was rerouted to remove one of those housing additions, the one in Danville. These women are going through the remaining new subdivision on the race-day course, Midnight Pass, just outside of Brownsburg, on Leg 10. 

Above: In Avon Town Hall Park, an event sign helped direct this runner to a proper turn to stay on the course.

Above: One of my fellow IMUPC members remarked that everywhere she encountered Donovan White, the above Wabash College athlete and race participant, she would see him stretching, and she captured several pictures of him as proof. We had that conversation after I had gotten this picture of him -- also stretching -- at the exchange station at Splash Island Aquatics Park in Plainfield, where his team was waiting for its runner to arrive.

Above: At the exchange point in Hummel Park in Guildford Township (near Plainfield), I pulled away during a lull waiting for runners to capture this high-dynamic range (HDR) shot of the artsy ceiling of a very long pavilion on the west side of the park.

Above: At the finish line in Sodalis Nature Park, race organizers encouraged all team members to join the sixth, and final, runner on their team as he/she approached the finish chute so they could all cross the terminus together. That's what this picture is about. The fellow on the left (BIB 316) was the final leg runner, and he hoists the baton as teammates join him crossing the finish line.

Above: The race organizers decided to invite winners of each of the five divisions -- men's, women's, mixed, open and corporate -- to help plant a tree along the large fishing pond at Sodalis. That's what is going on here: Members of the open category winner, Team Tenacious, are planting their tree, and those are three IMUPC photographers on the left, capturing the moment.

No comments:

Post a Comment