The Back Of The Pack

The Race Photographer

By Gary Pulver

I do love to look at my race photos when they arrive in my email after a race. Most of my friends tell me that they just hate their photos but they always look great to me so maybe it is time for my readers to show a new appreciation for the race photographers.

Gary Pulver

Gary airborne at the 2017 Blue Bolt

They are always there from the beginning to the end of a race. Should I have a particularly fast or even slow race, they are there to photograph me before, during and at the finish line. I like to say a few words to those hard workers as I run by and always let them know that if they are able to capture me with both feet off the ground then I will purchase that photo. Before this Spring, it had only happened once. I was running a race that began and ended at Globe Life Park a few years ago. It was the first of three races I was doing in eight days so I was not going to put any extra effort into it. Well, I had a lot left in the tank when we entered the stadium, for my finish so I let her rip. I can still hear the announcer saying "look at number 704, he is just flying toward the finish". My speed was about as fast as I can go so the photographer did manage to take a photo of me with both feet in the air and I bought that photo.

The race photographer has proven to be a very valuable person also in the ability of super sleuths to catch cheaters in races. There are people out there that check every photo of a race to see if they can spot people cutting courses, carrying two bibs, or sneaking over timing mats from the sidelines. Also, there are many instances of cheaters skipping the race altogether save the start and the finish, taking some sort of other transportation to a place near the finish line. The sleuths notice skipped mats or other things and then look through all of the race photos to verify that no photos of the cheater were taken on the course. There is an instance where photos of every other runner on the course is photographed multiple times except for the cheater so he or she was caught this way.

As I said earlier, that before this Spring, I had been photographed with both feet off the ground only the one time but at this year's Blue Bolt, I made an extra effort for this to happen and it did! About half way through the race, I came upon a photographer (who had moved about a half mile to set up) and decided to give it a different type of try. As I approached him I tried making some leaps and it does appear that I am just running but he caught one of the leaps beautifully. I ordered the photo and a statuette of the picture because I am not confident that it will happen again. A picture of the statuette is enclosed.

To conclude, remember to support those race photographers by thanking them, smiling for them, and purchasing a photo from time to time. They work very hard to add to the enjoyment you get from running a race.


Gary Pulver's Bio

Gary Pulver Gary was born in upstate New York in 1947, graduated from State University of New York at Geneseo in 1969, and taught one year of junior high math before joining the Air Force in 1970. Uncle Sam sent him to Texas where he was stationed in San Antonio, Wichita Falls and Abilene. He received his Masters Degree at Abilene Christian University and moved to Arlington in 1974 where he taught junior high math for five years and was a junior high guidance counselor for for 34 years. He likes to joke that he spent 44 years in junior high.

Gary played baseball throughout his school years and was a good bowler through high school and college. He was on the Geneseo bowling team and once was part of a state championship team. Athletic endeavors were limited to softball once he moved to Arlington. He became a runner at the ripe old age of 63. He was nearing retirement when his wife said "Now you're not going to just sit around and play on the computer when you retire are you!!!" His reply was "How about I become a marathon runner!!" The stories of his running exploits will be described in his column but from a very humble beginning as a runner, he has trained with the likes of Bill Richardson and Joe Boyle and is currently a member of The Running Bear Running Club in Granbury where he and his wife, Karen, have retired. Early in his running career he made himself the goal of running a race in all 50 states. He has currently done so in 20 states and 3 countries and has races in 14 more states on his calendar to be completed by the end of September, 2015.

Gary's columns will focus on two aspects of running, the older runner and the slower runner, for he happily admits to being both of these.