When the wheels come off

Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou* must be enjoying the royalty cheques at the moment; his theme to Chariots of Fire must have been played to death this summer.

The band playing as the Olympic Torch Relay reached Whitburn must have performed it half a dozen times while we were waiting, and I know that it was played during the medal ceremonies of the games themselves, but who knows how many broadcasters turned to it as a lazy shortcut to stir athletic feelings.

And that’s the thing, research has shown it to be a good motivator, but more so for creating a sense of anticipation before than for during the actual performance.  Music can certainly stir the adrenaline, but for me I always found it hard to settle into a rhythm while running to music, and when cycling I want my wits about me.  (Different when on a turbo trainer where the music is a welcome distraction from the combination of pain and boredom!)

With 7 days to the Great North Run there are lots of runners about, some of whom will not be seen out again for months after the event, whilst others, like the Sunderland Strollers, will still be running throughout the winter and whatever the weather.

Looking at those with iphones and ipods strapped to their arms this morning, it seemed to be the less committed who needed the music to keep them going.

Difficult to find a suitable moment to take a portrait of a runner; you don’t want to stop them once they’re going, and at the end when they’re reddened and sweaty I don’t suppose too many would volunteer, so I thought I’d look for some contrast for today’s portrait.  Sitting opposite all of this activity I met a lovely woman called Pat who was visiting from Nottinghamshire and enjoying the beautiful morning.  She had some cool red spectacle frames and a sparkly eyed smile so I was delighted when she agreed to be photographed. (Not sure her three dogs were as keen!).

Now I love my Canon 5d Mk II, and I’ve been using it for many moons now, but two days running I’ve found the priority control on the top of the camera has rotated from Aperture priority, to full Manual.   (Have I developed a sub conscious habit?)  Yesterday it didn’t matter, but today it meant that all of the shots I took of Pat were ruined – my apologies to her.  Looks like I’ll have to go back to chimping!

So to return to the question of find a portrait of a runner.  Get it before they start…

*known better as Vangelis

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