How often can you actually say that you were there at the beginning?
On occasion I do searches to see if a charity has an upcoming race at a nearby lake that's popular with runners, joggers, and walkers. Some of the charities are happy to have a volunteer photographer show up and take pictures. Photographing the Social Dynamics 5K Fun Run organized by the Life Steps Foundation sort of turned out to be an unexpectedly delightful experience for me.
The Northern California Branch of the Life Steps Foundation had never organized a race, so they asked me for advice in organizing a race. I gave them tips on setup and the types of foods that they should have available at the finish line and at the aid station.
On race morning I arrived early and showed them where to set up their tables and how to block off the parking lot. We also made use of an existing starting line that was painted by a previous race. (Side note: whoever put the line there used actually spray paint instead chalk...)
Below is a huge banner made by one of the Life Steps staff members. He actually attached it to his bicycle as he led the runners out on the first 200 yards or so along the course.
I also had the duties of giving the pre-race briefing, which was such an honor for me to do. I'd always wondered what it might be like. My briefing consisted of course safety, details of the course, as well as the location of the aid station. Since this was the first annual race, the turnout was expectedly small, but also good because best practices could be learned and problems can sometimes be easier to spot when the races are smaller.
Above is KTVU reporter Azenith Smith giving a little pep talk to the runners just before the race start. And then once done with her little talk, she hopped behind the starting line and took off with the group!
What was probably most touching was that amongst the above runners was one of the "clients" who the Life Steps Foundation provides services for. He didn't run, but he did walk all the way around the lake (4.4 miles) along with two ladies assisting him. There were other clients as well, but they decided not to run or walk around the lake. They stayed at the finish area instead, supporting those who did participate in the 5K.
Just to show how good hearted people can be, as the race was being set up, several people asked what was going on and one lady, who was planning to run around the lake anyway, decided to run the charity race. A few other people considered it, but the race start time was imminent and they didn't want to start late.
Great medals made up for the race! Photographing this event was a wonderful experience! And it's an event that I'd gladly do again. It would be nice to see this event grow larger and larger over the next few years, with more and more of the Life Steps Foundation clients participating.
You can view the rest of the photographs here.
Gear used: Fuji X-T1 with 16-55mm f/2.8 lens and Canon 70D with Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 lens.