Last weekend I went to watch my friend Penny run her first 5k. This was a huge thing for her and she had been working incredibly hard to get there, so there was no way I could miss it! I was so proud of all she has achieved over the last while, and I couldn’t wait to be there screaming for her as she crossed the finish line. I was also keen to take photos because while I have taken photos from races before, like the Rotterdam Marathon, I’ve never known anyone that was taking part. I was excited about the challenge for myself photography wise but also to capture the memories for her.
It was a beautifully sunny day with Indian Summer in full effect here in the Netherlands, the temperatures were set to go up into the high 20’s! Xander and I made sure to leave early to make sure we got a good spot to park and that we were able to find them in time before the race. I’m glad we did because there was quite a crowd and it wasn’t long after we arrived that the masses really started arriving.
She was running together with two of her friends, which was great because I’m sure it was a lot less daunting than if she were to do her first one on her own. Her husband’s cousin was also running in the race but we weren’t able to find her before the start.
She and her friend Suzanne were raring and ready to go. They had been planning this together for quite some time and were pretty excited. I couldn’t blame them, I was excited too and I wasn’t even running.
Once the race was getting ready to start I found a spot to squeeze in on the sides. I was a little irritated because some really tall Dutch guy had his arm stuck out videotaping the whole thing, which blocked my view (and probably a load of people behind me as well) and made it difficult for me to get photos. I bitched loads to Xander, in the end trying to do so extra loud so the guy would hear and knock it off, but it wasn’t until whoever it was he was waiting for went by that he finally moved out of the way.
I’m not sure it mattered though, because I quickly remembered how difficult it is to take photos during a race. Do they all have to move so fast? What’s the hurry?
Even with the guy gone I could hardly see, so I had Xander watch and yell when he saw Penny coming. I just barely caught her as she came into view and then was gone in just a few seconds! Before the race I told her to stop when she saw me and give me a few poses, but she didn’t listen. After taking the photos I screamed like a mental patient, all “WAHOOOO PENNY GO PENNY GO PENNY!!!” until Xander reminded me that she had her earphones in and couldn’t hear me anyway… then stepped away and pretended not to know me.
Once she and her friends went by we scurried off to the finish line to wait for them.
Her husband’s cousin and one of Penny’s friends, I’m sorry I don’t remember their names now… both finished before I was able to get in and get a photo. Again, such a hurry! You’d think they were in a race or something!
When I finally did manage to wiggle my way up to the rail I was just in time to catch Suzanne crossing. She looked so happy and looked like she could turn around and do it all over again!
Penny wasn’t far behind and look at how proud she was! I started screaming again, I didn’t care if she couldn’t hear me, I was proud of her too!
This time she DID stop so I was able to get more photos. I’m not sure if it was for my benefit or that she was just keen to stop moving, either way it worked for me!
I continued to stalk her and her friends from the sidelines, taking photos of them and some of the other runners. They were having a great gab for a while, which I assume was about the race, the heat, the other runners around them and whatever else runny people talk about after a race.
We finally caught up with Yuri’s cousin and I couldn’t stop thinking of how unbelievably alike they look. Yuri and his cousin, I mean… I wish I’d gotten a photo of them together because the strength of those family genes are astounding. If you know Yuri and saw this photo you’d be all “Hey Yuri, why are you crouching down like that, and why do you have that blond wig on?”. Seriously, it’s insane.
It is my life’s mission now to get a photo of them together… OR, to put a blond curly wig on Yuri and get a photo of that. Actually, that sounds like a lot more fun.
Anyway, back to Penny…
This is the look of a woman who just achieved something pretty amazing. She set herself a goal, worked hard, went to that race and kicked ass.
I think I told her about 100 times how proud I was of her. I also, being me, came dangerously close to getting weepy a few times. Whatever, it’s what I do.
She is an inspiration and I’m so glad I was there to see all her hard work pay off! Well done, my friend!