Event Photography Sports

Race Vermont Half Marathon

This past Saturday, Race Vermont held their annual Spring Half Marathon. I’ve photographed a number of events for them and they’re always a good time; this one was no exception.  The weather forecast threatened rain, but we only got the lightest of sprinkles during the event. The flooding in Vermont meant that Rayne had to reroute the course a little bit and, thankfully, Shelburne Farms was willing to accommodate him.

There was a good sized crowd at the start as last-minute race details were covered (including the standard no-iPod rule) and then they were off.

After the pack takes off, I relocated to Shelburne Farms’ South Gate and waited for the runners to arrive.

This guy was taking advantage of the change of scenery and cheering on the runners as they passed.

Congratulations to everyone that ran! I hope you enjoyed your morning as much as I did. All of these photos and more are available on!

Event Photography Sports

Unplugged Half Marathon

Note – all of these photos and many, many more are available on If you ran, you should hop over and check it out. There are prints, posters, magnets, and even digital downloads if you want to use these on Facebook.

This past Saturday, Run Vermont organized the 5th Annual Unplugged Half Marathon along the Burlington, VT waterfront of Lake Champlain. 600 runners pre-registered for what can be a questionable day by the lake. Some years, we get freezing temperatures, cold winds, and even snow. This year, it was in the mid to upper 30’s at the start and it got downright warm once the race was under way. Even standing at my first location, I was able to take off my jacket, roll up my sleeves, and enjoy the sunshine.

The course is the same every year, as far as I’m aware. It starts in Colchester, just over the Burlington line (aka the Winooski River) where it makes a quick loop through some neighborhoods before joining up with the Burlington Bike Path and heading due south along the lake shore. This is the third year I’ve photographed this event and I try not to shoot the same location twice in a row. This year, I was drawn back to the bridge over the Winooski where the curved lines make for interesting framing and the sun really highlights what a beautiful day we had.

Most of the events I photograph are filled with a relaxed crowd, out to have a good time, but this one seems exceptional. Some people will run through the “photo trap” with arms around their running partners,

some smile & chat

make a point to wave hello and / or thank me for being out there (it really is my pleasure)

or suggest that world peace is the answer (at least, I think she was saying that and not whirled peas.)

When I moved to Oakledge Park to take some photos by the lake with Burlington in the background, I came across this group of fans cheering for someone’s mom if I remember correctly.

They certainly caught the runners’ attention as they came through the park!

Near the end of the race, they really encourage you to finish strong.

No, seriously, the truck drivers that go through there did an amazing job navigating the fans, runners, and cones. And the runners knew the trucks didn’t really want to run them over.

Thanks for putting on another great race, Joe!  I’ll see you next year.

Event Photography Skiing Sports

66th Stowe Derby: Race from the Top of Vermont

Note: All of the event photos have been posted to and are available for purchase.

It was another successful year for the Stowe Derby. Some 793 racers took on the challenge of a 2,602′ descent over 12.5 miles on cross country skis. That may not sound bad until you look at the course profile and realize that nearly 2,000 of those vertical feet are descended in the first 3 miles as skiers race down the Toll Road on Stowe Mountain Resort.

But I get ahead of myself. Before the insanity begins, the short course competitors start on the Stowe Recreation Path. The mass starts with long skinny skis on your feet is a different kind of chaos but most everyone starts with a smile and the competitors eventually string out into a long line marching towards the finish.

It’s pretty easy to tell who’s in this race as a competitor

and who’s just out to have a good day on snow with a few hundred friends.

This little guy’s only 5 years old and he’s already competed in more Stowe Derbys than I have.

Back at the top, I usually start to get settled as the racers are warming up. A half dozen racers usually ski down two or three turns to get a feel for the snow and the course and then turn around  to hike their way back up to the start. When the ski patrol comes through to sweep the course, it’s time for the chaos to begin.

The first racers usually clean the upper corners well. Their legs are fresh and usually they’re experienced enough on skis to manage the hill and loose snow.

It doesn’t take long before the trail claims its first pieces of gear.

and provides us with some spectacular falls.

I may be wrong, but I think you’re missing something, #143. Nice job staying on your feet, though!

When you watch a few hundred skiers come around the same corner, you start to get a feel for the technique or line that contributes to an explosive fall. Sometimes you get surprised, though. #179 looked like he was headed for disaster and then finished his turn with perfect form. I hope the rest of your race went well!

Sometimes, you can’t help but laugh at some of the falls. I’d feel bad except for the fact that most of the racers laugh as they’re going down as well.

After a crash, they pop back up like kids and skate back into the thick of the race. With 5 people starting every 30 seconds, you don’t have long to collect yourself before getting run over!

In past years, I’ve seen people on heavy telemark gear, full-on alpine touring bindings and snowlerblades, but this was the first year that I saw someone on a snowboard. Well, kind of; last year three or four snowboarders popped out of the woods and onto the race course oblivious to the fact that there was a race going on. At first I thought that’s what happened to this guy until it registered that he had cross-country ski poles in his hand. Tawny said she saw him go by at her location, so he made it the whole 12.5 miles on a splitboard. That’s some dedication.

About 1k from the finish, it’s a much more conventional cross-country race.

Well, except for those people that ski by with broken gear on their back. Way to keep Vermont green, #3! (And it’s not even Green-Up Day.)

I’m not sure where Gumby started – you’d think I would remember the big green guy passing me at the start…

As if one run down the mountain wasn’t crazy enough, the Stowe Derby has heats for Freestyle and Classical styles. In between runs, they run a cat down the trail and groom it flat. With a modern, shaped alpine ski, it’s easy to lay down railroad tracks on this easy slope.

but I can’t imagine doing it on skinny skis!

This doesn’t look good! Believe it or not, he pulls it off and continues past as if he did this on purpose.

This is my favorite expression of the day.

Again at the bottom, most people are all smiles as they’re approaching the finish. Dirk is no exception.

I checked in with Tawny before moving to the finish line. She was hard at work at the blind corner, as usual.

As racers reach the finish line, they have to cross one last bridge and round a corner to a cheering crowd.

It’s not uncommon for people to fall within feet of the finish line. Sometimes it’s a sprint for the finish gone wrong, other times it’s plain old fatigue.

I hear this was #795’s first Stowe Derby. I hope you’ll be back again to do it next year!

All of these photos and more will be available for purchase on soon.

Congratulations to all of the competitors and a big thank you to the Mount Mansfield Ski Club and all of the volunteers, sponsors, and other organizations for putting on another great race.

If you’ve read this far and you’re one of the racers above that I’ve featured crashing, send me an email with your bib number. I’ve got something for you.

Event Photography

Race Vermont Half Marathon in Shelburne

This weekend, Vermont threw all sorts of weather at us.  Saturday morning I awoke to drizzle and rain, so I packed up my car with extra rain gear and headed to Shelburne to photograph the Race Vermont Half Marathon for  Rayne, the race coordinator, assured all of the volunteers that he had put in for no rain, so we should stay dry.  Well, it didn’t pour all day, but it definitely rained hard at times and I was glad to have a good rain jacket and umbrella.

Runners didn’t seem deterred at the registration table. There was steady traffic both inside when people were picking up their packets, and outside where runners were warming up.

Spirits seemed high during the pre-race pep-talk.  Apparently there were multiple events going on in Shelburne this weekend, including Lacrosse games and school open houses, all within a half mile from the Field House in Shelburne, making for a lot of extra people in the area. As usual, Rayne stressed safety over everything else encouraging runners to run without their iPods because of all the added traffic.  I would get bored, but I can see the reasoning behind the advice.

I set up shop near at Shelburne Farms, near mile marker 9 I think, just as people were exiting the grounds.  It was raining as I set up my camera and other gear, but when the first runners came through it had stopped and it looked like we were in for a few hours without precipitation.

It was interesting that some people were running past in tights, long sleeves, and some wearing gloves/hats/jackets, while others were in the bare minimum, coping with the cold, rainy, Vermont weather quite well.

As usual, there are always a few who are willing to pose creatively for the camera or at least give a friendly smile and a wave.

And then the skies opened up again, drenching runners.  This guy was running with his wife for their anniversary.  I can’t recall how many years, but I think it’s a great way to celebrate!

His wife was lucky; Vermont decided to stop raining by the time she got to me.

There are some stretches where it must be pretty lonely in the rain.

While the runners at least stay warm, if not dry, through the race, the volunteers get pretty chilly when the temperatures drop and the rain kicks up.  Race Vermont has a lot of volunteers at every race I’ve been to; the event couldn’t happen without them.  Many of the runners make a point to thank each and every volunteer they pass, which is a nice touch I think.

Even in the cold, the volunteers are cheering on competitors and generally having a good time.

As the last runners passed me, I packed up my photo gear and headed towards the finish to see if I could catch some expressions as people completed their race and were able to get out of the rain. Some people were happy, some were relieved, and others broke down in tears as they successfully finished their first half marathon.  Congratulations!

As is evident by the photo above, I wasn’t the only photographer at the event, but I bet I took the most photos!  You can see all of the Race Vermont Half Marathon Photos at

Event Photography

Race Vermont Half Marathon, Shelburne, VT

When you agree to photograph a half marathon in November in Vermont, you never know what to expect.  The forecast last night was for overnight lows in the low 30’s, warming to the mid 50’s or 60’s for a daytime high.  I expected a cold morning and packed my puffy jacket, winter hat & gloves.  The start of the race was cool, but only in the shade.



Once the runners were on their way, I walked down to mile 7 / mile 12 (the course crosses here twice) to get set for the 350 runners to pass. By the time I got to my destination, it was downright warm!  No need for a jacket, hat, or gloves.  It was a perfect day in Vermont.

The leaders passed close together, but obviously both running their own race.  Others passed running with a partner.






I get a kick out of photos that make runners look like they’re hovering in one spot effortlessly.





Even near the end of the race, it seemed like everyone was in a good mood.






Congratulations to everyone!  The photos will be posted on shortly.