Fell running is my new favourite sport – not to do, just yet anyway, but to photograph definitely. Last weekend I travelled up to Lancashire to cover the Stan Bradshaw Round for Meter magazine (recently launched by US running brand Tracksmith). Andy Waterman, the magazine’s editor, would run it/write about it, and kindly asked me to shoot it for them.
Shooting a sport for the first time is one of the best things about being a sports photographer – you have no idea what to expect, no preconceptions about the sport, no reference to ‘what you did last time’. It’s all new, all fresh, all exciting. It’s kinda scary, because you don’t have a clue what you’re doing, but you keep reminding yourself that you’re not an idiot, you know how to use a camera, and that everything will be fine.
And then the sport itself. Fell running is awesome. It’s old school, it’s grass roots, it’s old blokes in short shorts & singlets running up & down hills as fast as they can. Ok that’s a generalisation there were a few younger runners and a lot of women too, but you know us photographers are suckers for old people. They just make better pictures, fact. It’s a refreshingly simple sport, there’s no need to invest in the latest kit – no shoe is going to make you go faster, only training and experience will do that.
It’s glamour-less – rock up at a village hall, pin on your race number, slog up hills, slip down them, fall over stiles, get covered in pig shit, and so on. In the village hall afterwards, over that well known combination of soup and cake, runners chat about their race – which climb was the toughest, which line did they take on a certain descent, did they beat last year’s time. Most people are from local running clubs, they know eachother, and they come to catch up. Everyone was incredibly friendly, ‘can I take your photograph? Of course you can, take his too, take all of ours!’. What a great sport, I’ll be back.
Full edit up soon.