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2010 New York City Marathon Finish Line in Pictures

November 19, 2010

As promised, here’s a full gallery of my photos from last week’s New York City Marathon. The shoot required quite a bit of preparation and was thoroughly exhausting, but seeing 10 of my photos printed in The New York Times was very rewarding, and I made some new friends along the way (more on that later)!

I arrived at 6am to set up a remote camera, a necessity given that I was expected to capture multiple angles of the exact moments when the winners would cross the finish line. Lucky for me, daylight savings time ended hours earlier, so what was actually 6:45am when I was set up and ready to go only felt like 7:45am. Still not really a reasonable hour to be outside on a brisk November Sunday morning though!

New York City Marathon finish line remote setup

As 8:30am rolled around, the media trailer started to fill up:

New York City marathon media trailer

This was officially my first time using 5 cameras at once. I had to juggle the 3 cameras that you see on the ground while remotely triggering the one on the tripod and the upper-level camera I had set up earlier.

New York Marathon photo equipment

The marathon organizers staggered the starting times so the winners of the various divisions would finish at different times with no chance of overlap. Shortly after 10am, the first winner crossed the finish line. David Weir of the UK won the men’s wheelchair race:

David Weir of the UK won the men's wheelchair race

American Dane Pilon then won the handcycle race…

American Dane Pilon then won the handcycle race

…followed by American Tatyana McFadden, winner of the women’s wheelchair race:

 American Tatyana McFadden, winner of the women's wheelchair race

After sending the wheelchair photos to The New York Times, I headed back outside and got in position for the moment when the runners would cross the finish line shortly before noon. First up was Edna Kiplagat of Kenya, winner of the women’s race:

Edna Kiplagat of Kenya, winner of the women's race

Edna Kiplagat of Kenya, winner of the women's race

Kiplagat was followed by American Shalane Flanagan, who fell to her knees after crossing the finish line:

American Shalane Flanagan, who fell to her knees after crossing the finish line

Winner Edna Kiplagat congratulated Flanagan…

Winner Edna Kiplagat congratulated second place finisher Shalane Flanagan

…who in turn congratulated fifth place finisher Kim Smith, Flanagan’s training partner:

Shalane Flanagan congratulated fifth place finisher Kim Smith, who is Flanagan's training partner

Moments later, Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia won the men’s race with a time of 2:08:14. Incredibly, it was his first time competing in a marathon race. You can see New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the right cheering him on.

Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia won the men's race with a time of 2:08:14

This photo was taken with the remote camera I had set up hours earlier, allowing me to capture Gebremariam’s victory from a higher angle:

Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia won the men's race with a time of 2:08:14

Kenyan Emmanuel Mutai finished second…

Kenyan Emmanuel Mutai finished second

…followed by fellow countryman Moses Kigen Kipkosgei in third place:

Moses Kigen Kipkosgei in third place

Gebre Gebremariam proudly wore his country’s flag:

Gebre Gebremariam proudly wore his country's flag

Last year’s winner, American Meb Keflezighi, congratulated Gebremariam on his win after finishing sixth:

Last year's winner, American Meb Keflezighi, congratulated Gebremariam after finishing sixth

13th place finisher Tim Nelson of the United States lied on the pavement after crossing the finish line:

13th place finisher Tim Nelson of the United States lied on the pavement after crossing the finish line

At this point I scrambled back to the media trailer to begin the process of selecting photos from all five (!) cameras, captioning, and quickly transmitting them to The New York Times for web use. Minutes later, my photos began flooding the front page of The New York Times website! Ah, modern technology.

Word began to spread around the media trailer that Edison Peña, the Chilean miner who trained underground while trapped for 10 weeks, would cross the finish line of his first marathon in a couple hours. With some time on my hands, I went outside to grab shots of random runners in the finish line area. I captured this intimate moment of Costa Rican Carla Castro saying a quick prayer after finishing:

Carla Castro of Costa Rica, saying a quick prayer after finishing

At about 3:30pm, Chilean miner Edison Peña crossed the finish line:

At about 3:30pm, Chilean miner Edison Peña crossed the finish line

After sending the last of my images to The New York Times, I packed up my equipment and left the finish line area at 5pm, more than 7 hours into the race and 11 hours after I had arrived:

After sending the last of my images to The New York Times, I packed up my equipment and left the finish line at 5pm, 11 hours after I had arrived

Under ordinary circumstances, this would have been a good time to go home. But no, I headed down to Madison Square Garden to shoot the Rangers game!

And what about the friends I made along the way? Interesting story: A few days later I received a call from a guy named Diego Montero, whose wife Carla saw her photo in the special marathon section of The New York Times. Being journalists in Costa Rica, they were very excited about the photo and wanted to meet me before heading back to their home country. They happened to be attending the Rangers game at Madison Square Garden that Thursday night, so we arranged to meet in between periods. Diego and Carla were so thrilled about me capturing that moment and her appearance in The New York Times! It was very meaningful for me to meet them in person. Thank YOU Carla for helping me create that image! I hope to see you both in Costa Rica some day!

Diego took this photo of Carla and me at the Rangers game:

Diego took this photo of Carla and me at the Rangers game

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 19, 2010 11:47 am

    Hey Avi, this is another Costarican cheering for the moment you clicked through the soul of Carla on her brief prayer.

    This is a shot that will be in our memories forever.

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