First-time Marathoner Explains it All: Working the Camera During Your Race

I’m no model, but my background in theater and figure skating have both taught me how to soak up the spotlight – this includes feeling comfortable in front of the camera. So, how do you work the camera during a race? How do you keep the photographers from picking up on the fact you haven’t taken a decent gulp of air in four hours? I’ve put together six tips to help you go from looking like Michael Scott from The Office to Easy, Breezy, Beautiful Runner.

1. Smile

No, really – the first tip is to smile while running. Not only does smiling make running feel easier (nice psychological trick there – should have tried this through math class in high school), but it helps you stay prepared for any photography attacks while on the course.

2. Know where the photographers are: Local race tips

In my experience, most local races tend to keep their photographers tied (not literally, you weirdo) to the start and finish lines, so make sure that while you sprint across that finish line like the rock star you are, you’re feeling strong, smiling, and looking like a million (sweaty) bucks. Usually, arms over the head in celebration, fist pumping, jumping, devil horns, or something to that effect can help. Please note that jumping requires timing and if they catch you mid-take-off, you may look like you’re struggling to keep from having a bowel movement right then and there… While pretending to be Spider Man?

3. Know where the photographers are: runDisney courses

Unless you’re stopping for character photos on the service roads between parks, don’t worry about the photographers during these stretches on the runDisney courses. They want to make sure that you remember that “every mile is magic” so they won’t capture you running along the water treatment plants between Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. The photographers on these courses will all be in the parks sheltered in their neon green hideaway tents. And trust me – despite the color of those tents, they do a darn good job concealing these guys along the race. Has anyone told them that candids of runners aren’t the most flattering?

For these photos, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • You are not the only one on the course. Keep your poses contained so you don’t accidentally smack or trip anyone (specifically if there is a lot of congestion around you). I suggest peace signs, devil horns, anything with the tongue out, Home Alone face, finger guns – you get the picture. See what I did there?
  • Please don’t run in front of others and block their photo moment. There are two photographers on either side of the course path and they are generally really good at capturing every runner coming by. Please note: runDisney races are often congested towards the back of the pack, as I’ve seen in others’ race photos.

4. Finish line photos are tough – be prepared

You’ve finally made it! You’ve trained so hard and the moment you’ve been waiting for is less than one tenth of a mile away. The excitement and adrenaline are just too much and you sprint for that perfect finish line photo. But hold on there.

Depending where you are in the pack, you may experience congestion. This also depends on the race – runDisney races aren’t usually competitive for most, making them heavier in the back. You won’t know when you’ll be starting until packet pickup prior to the race, so be prepared with a few different poses. If you have a pocket where you can stretch out without smacking, punching, or tripping other runners, enjoy the moment and throw up those hands (or attempt that jump). If you’re running with someone or there are groups around you, it may be best to do something less grand with your hands and flash the cameras (read the rest of this sentence, please) your most dazzling grin. No matter what, smile, celebrate, and enjoy your achievement.

5. Wear something fun

Are you planning a costume or wearing something special for your big race? Do a run or two in it first to make sure you like how you look in it and more specifically that you are comfortable running in it – whether it’s for a 5K through to a full marathon. Now that you know you can run in this fun race kit, enjoy it! Embrace whatever character you’re running as, have fun with that new tank top or tee shirt. If you don’t know how to pose, use your race outfit for inspiration. You can also practice your poses in the mirror while trying on your race kit. It may feel goofy, but you want nice pictures, right?

6. Own your run

This is something that needs to be done before making it to race day. Do the training, be comfortable with your running, fuel properly, know that you are going into this race prepared to have fun. If it’s not fun, why are you doing it? So, when you’re on the course, smile, enjoy your race, breathe, and start slow, then pick up your pace as you feel appropriate. Own your run and bask in your confidence.

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