17 September 2012
London 2012 Olympic Marathon Runners
You know that the Olympics events are coming to a close when it is time for the marathon. The marathon, a long distance road race covering a distance of approximately 26 miles (42.195km), is one of the Olympic events that anyone can spectate live as it is not confined to a stadium. It’s name derived from an ancient conflict in Greece back in 490 BC, battle of Marathon, after a messenger had run from Marathon to Athens to announce the defeat of the Persians. Well, that’s is how the legend goes. That legend has given rise to one of the most demanding sports of the modern age.
The yearly London Marathon always attracts a big crowd of spectators along the route and the London 2012 Marathon was no different. Spectators would line the route early in order to secure a decent vantage point to view the runners.
The route started from The Mall, passing on the way Westminster, Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral and along the Embankment. Three laps of this route was necessary to cover the required distance. This is the area of the internet and the smartphone and both came in handing whilst trying to determine where the runners where along the route. The TV broadcast was being streamed via the BBC’s iplayer service to all internet capable devices. It was just a matter to starting up the app and viewing the broadcast (as long as the 3G mobile network coverage was good enough). It was a simple matter to tell if the runners was approaching as there was a billed up of crowd noise with all the clapping and cheering. The added noise from an overhead helicopter rotor blades verified that the runners were very close.
The first lap saw the athletes ruuning as almost as a well ordered cluster. There was no clear leader of the pack at this stage. Everyone was running with a similar stride and energized with the same purpose in mind to win the marathon or at the very least to beat their own personal best. The group seemed to pass by very quickly with the sound of their foot steps drowned out by loud cheering, and hand clapping,
The second lap was more interesting. The difference between the runners was more obvious. The leading group of runners looked very composed and maintained a quick pace. Those that followed ran at a steady pace with the hope of making up ground before the distance between them and the leaders got too great. The more remote runners were beginning to suffer from the physical demands placed on them by the marathon race. The weather perhaps did not help matters. The warm ambient temperature conspired to fatigue muscles just that sooner for some of the athletes.
A great assortment of cameras was in use to capture the race. From compact cameras to big heavy weight DSLRs. Cameras were firing away as quickly as they were able. These cameras were not alone as photos (and videos) were also being taken on smartphones. In fact at times it looked liked there were more smartphones taking photos than dedicated cameras. Tablet devices were also pressed into action. Dispite their lage size and unergonomic design (camera wise) some spectators were happy to press them into use. The mobile press pack had the largest cameras. Their DSLRs were fitted with the highest quality telephoto lens with the strain taken up by monopods. This mobile press pack has a prime and unobscured view of the front runners although this doesn't always ensure the best photos.
By the last lap the runners were well spread out. It was time for them to dig deep and call on any reserves of energy to get them to the finish line. The spectators played their part by giving extra loud cheers of encouragement to the runners who were struggling and lagging way behind.
Of the 105 competing athletes, 85 completed the race. The eventual winner was KIPROTICH Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda.
The photos in the gallery were shot with a Nikon D80 DSLR fitted with the 70-300mm VR lens. This is a camera which is now several generations behind the latest model but still up to the task. The D80 body was fitted with the vertical grip, holding two batteries, to make shooting in portrait orientation easy and ensure power was not lost at an inappropriate time. EA