What Do You Run For?

It's a question that I always seem to ask my friends who are runners. The response I get is always different—keeping fit, a personal challenge, running for a cause, and (the enthusiastic) for fun! With running being a very popular sport for many people, there are a myriad of events that cater to each type of runner. From huge events like qualifying marathons, to smaller 5k events that are just for fun. Kalamazoo, like many other cities, is in no shortage of runners and has several events throughout the warmer months for individuals to participate in. 

I had the opportunity to photograph two of these events this past month: the Kalamazoo Marathon and the Run Or Dye Kalamazoo. While both events were an excellent learning opportunity in photographing a fast moving sport; the differences between the two become apparent on the competitors faces. 

The Kalamazoo Marathon is comprised of a 5k, 10k, half marathon, and a full (Boston qualifying) marathon. This race brought out not only the die-hards who have their eyes set on Boston, but those who were just planning on seeing what kind of time they could get in the 5k. The first and second photos above were taken near the end of the half and full marathon course where the runners had to overcome a large hill with a steep incline. The photo on the left was after the hill, very close to the finish line.

On the flip side, the Run Or Dye was a 5k only "for fun" race that wasn't timed. This race features dye stations throughout the course where volunteers throw colored dye on the runners as they pass by. This race saw many people and their families out for some exercise and the fun of being multicolored by the end of the day. Like the Color Run, this race features a post-race concert with even more colored dye.

If you're a runner in the Kalamazoo area who's just starting out, or a seasoned veteran, be sure to keep an eye out all summer long for upcoming events like these. And just remember, when you're out on the course make sure to smile at the photographer!