John Sandell photography
25 Miles Down

25 Miles Down. In 2005, I only had half an hour to photograph the London Marathon. Well, not all of the marathon of course, but some part of it. In any case, past experience has taught me that it's really only possible to get to a couple of places and get decent photos, such are the difficulties of travelling around and getting through the crowds. But this year I was booked for an afternoon event at the South Bank Centre and couldn't get into London before about 1:30. So I headed for the Hungerford footbridge, just across the river from the SBC, where I knew the pack would be at that time, with the 200mm (35mm equivalent = 300mm) on the D100.

This is the fifth of 10 almost identical shots at this 25 mile mark. It's easy enough framing the image, but not so easy to get a good arrangement of runners and colours, with no empty spaces – the runners tend to bunch slightly into groups, which is not helpful for photographers! That old 200mm manual lens (no metering on the D100, so guess the exposure) is very sharp: on the full size print the expression on every face is clearly visible. But the really amazing thing is the speed and enthusiasm of all of these guys after running 25 miles. In the club competition, 18/20.

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