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Canon SD600

Capture Date/Time: October 22, 2006 7:57
Aperture/Shutter Speed: F2.8 - 1/60 sec
Focal Length: 5.8 mm
ISO: 320
Flash: None

As promised, here's a shot of the rest of the starting field behind me from the same spot as yesterday's shot on Columbus Drive. I should show a shot of my camera rig one of these days... people around me thought it was a cool idea and a couple of them asked me if I was an engineer. The neat thing was that when they saw the camera so high above the crowd there were inevitable smiles and cheers behind me.

One of the hardest things about this race is that you have to stand in this starting corral for nearly a half hour before the race starts. You could get in there later, but the chances of getting a decent spot are pretty low by about 15 minutes before the start. The only good thing about it being so crowded is that all the combined bodies keep the wind off of you and the body heat keeps you warm in the 30-degree temperatures. There's no room to sit down, and there's no place to... how should I say it... "relieve" yourself after drinking pints of water hydrating before the race. Indeed, many people run off to the side while under Randolph avenue to do just that shortly after the start.

I would estimate that there were some 35,000 people in the view here. If you look about 4/5 of the way to the top of the picture, you will see a line of officials in orange jackets standing hand-in-hand across the entire stretch of Columbus Drive. These officials are holding back the open field of runners. Between me and the orange jackets are the rest of the "preferred" start corral. To get into this corral, you have to have met a marathon finishing time cutoff the previous year. The preferred corral actually extends up to the orange jackets and turns down Congress Drive to the left, so there's another half block of people on the left side that you can't see. Once the preferred corral is emptied at the starting horn, the orange jackets cue up the rest of the field and let them pass.

One more thing to note: As a further attempt to "seed" runners properly, the organizers encourage people to stand in sections according to their anticipated finishing time. These times are located on big yellow circle signs that you can barely see on the back left there. The first sign says 3:30, and they increase by ten-minute intervals going back. The last sign I believe reads 5:40. You can see the signs in front of me on the right in yesterday's shot.

As big as this race is, I must say that it is organized extremely well.


10.24.06, 05:46 PM, micki:

I love those cheering faces!! MIke, this is such a fun shot!

10.24.06, 06:27 PM, Pieter:

Mike, great shots. My nephew ran the race in 2:55. Now we are waiting for the rest of this series to see if we can spot Al.
Thanks for carrying that camera around

10.24.06, 09:23 PM, Mike:

What a small world (although with 40,000 people in that race someone's bound to know someone!). What an amazing finishing time! Stay tuned and maybe you'll spot him, although if he was running that fast he certainly wasn't anywhere near me. Actually, last year a regular viewer of MRB did say that they knew someone in one of my crowd shots. Thanks for the comment, Pieter.

10.25.06, 05:29 AM, rayts:

wow...what a huge crowd. everyone seems to be looking your that guy with the red hanky, covering his face.

10.28.06, 09:16 PM, cool daddio:

Great idea and a great shot. This crowd behind you lots a great deal happier than the ones ahead of you.

12.25.06, 09:48 PM, P.J.:

Wow. That's a lot of people. Great shot! (I love that the guy in the front with the yellowish glasses looks SO serious!)

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