I’ve been struggling over the past few weeks to really determine what the best way to present all of this information is. We did so much while we were in Kona and there are so many stories to tell, how could I do it all in 1 or 2 posts and really get across the magic that is the Ironman World Championships? So, this is the first post in a series that really highlights the different aspects of what Kona was – Our Documentation of Balazs, Ironman Race Day, and the other work we did in Kona that I’ll – hopefully – be able to release soon. The first of these being Ironman Race Day.
Trial by fire. That’s the only way I can describe what being a photographer on Race Day was for me. I’m used to having control over my surroundings: how many times, at what angle, and where the athlete was going to be (to an extent). Sports photography is getting in a good position based on your experience, setting the camera up to where/how you want it based on the vision in your head (motion blur v. sharp, wide v. tight, etc.), and hoping for the best expression or moment as the riders or runners go flying past. I was fortunate enough to have experience on both sides of the lens, and we were able to really get some great shots of some fantastic athletes.
Getting to see and photograph the world’s best Ironman athletes in action, in Kona was a dream come true. Balazs, Crowie, Rinny, Pete Jacobs, Seb, Feris Al-Sultan, Caroline Steffen, Luke McKenzie, Mary Beth Ellis, and all of the other current greats were just awesome to watch, and to get to see Crowie’s last time at Kona and Rinny take off and dominate the marathon with a 2:50 time was unbelievable. It was also great how many times we were able to see each of them (without getting on a Moto or the Media Truck) on the course by picking the proper spots and creating images that let you know they were in Kona. The Queen K and Alii Drive are such renowned places in Ironman legend and lore that doing these two destinations their due diligence was what I set out to do and – hopefully – have accomplished in these photos.
As I said from the beginning, this may be images in these iconic places and of these iconic figures, but the rest of the story is just as interesting. I can’t wait to share more and to, hopefully, get to tell the story and share what it really means and feels like to be an Ironman Pro, in Kona, during race week. The demands, the strategy, the mental aspect that none of us mere mortals can fathom, and the physical demands on these athletes from all different sources is what really make being a pro that much more demanding. So, enjoy the Race Day photos and stay tuned for more posts from #IMKona coming soon!