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The Comrades Marathon - South Africa's Day of Hope

Discussion in 'Photojournalism, Candids and Street Photography' started by bendheim, Jun 18, 2005.

  1. Sorry in advance; sports photography is not my speciality so I'm probably awful at it. I've just given my own particular style to this huge event, and it's my way of seeing it.

    South Africa's Comrades Marathon is a race of epic proportions. An ultra-marathon of nearly 90 kilometers, it is a race that joins cities and hands. It's between the cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg, and is up or down, alternating each year. It always takes place on June 16th, now a public holiday which commemorates the dreadful shootings that took place in the apartheid days on June 16th, 1976 in Soweto. Some 12 000 runners take part in the event - that first started some 80 years ago.

    Now world-famous, it had just a handful of starters in its early days. It's just about every South African's dream to run the Comrades, and many do - old, young, thin, fat, blind...whatever and whoever you are.

    The big name runners do it in 5 hours 30 minutes with a cut off time for the stragglers of around 12 hours. The real human part of the Comrades is the latter half of the race - the ordinary people and the incredible cameraderie that sends goosebumps down one's spine. People helping each other, some literally carrying their "brother" or "sister". It's a day where people forget completely about the many deep racial and political divisions that still exist in South Africa...whites cheer on blacks, blacks clap and support whites. People run arm in arm and hand in hand. The healthy and the not so healthy. And even before the end of "apartheid" way back as far as I can remember, it was always like this.

    It was the one day each year that South African's forgot about their past, and hoped for a few hours for a future that would somehow be different, free and happy.

    For South Africans, Comrades is far more than a simple sporting event. It's a day we all treasure, a symbol of how people should really act towards each other.

    Durban, 16 June 2005

    All the images were shot about 3 miles from the finish, all with the D2X, RAW, 17-55, and either at ISO200 or 400. About 2 were cropped, rest are as is.
















  2. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Peter :

    Gee, I don't know. Maybe that new D2X has made you over into a sports photographer !

    Seriously, I think these are a marvelous series of photographs, capturing the human side of the race far better than would shots of straining fast runners in the lead. The photo of the orange slices being offered, the fatigued man in the midst of a pack of runners, the two men hand-in-hand, all of these capture the feeling of the race in an immediate and evocative fashion.

    This is a fine, fine series of photographs, and I thank you for sharing them. I've had the dream of visiting SA for about four decades, and this is just one more reason to visit !

    John P.
  3. Hi John
    Thanks for the comments...The pic of the men holding hands is actually a man running together with a blind runner for all of 90 kilometers...that's the extraordinary spirit of this marathon.

    I hope your dream of coming here one day will happen; if you need help or advice, I'm more than happy to assist.

  4. Sorry for what? :shock:

    These are fantastic Peter! You really captured the human aspects of this great effort, from the runners to the spectators. And, you must have a "trick" for your colors: they definitely have your style/signature on them. I really enjoyed this series a lot. Thanks for sharing. :p 
  5. Johan


    Jun 18, 2005

    Indeed, you don't have to say sorry :)  Those pictures are top. There is a big variety in your photos. There sure is the human aspect and you can sense the artistic aspect in your photos. Nice work man !!!

    Keep it up
  6. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Peter :

    Be careful of what you offer !

    Many of the places I want to see date back to my childhood reading of old books about travel in the world back in the 1920's. I've now managed to visit about half of those places. Much to my chagrin, the places have changed somewhat from the images made in those books, but I persevere in trying to find those places. The closest one in terms of meeting my childhood images has been Tasmania.

    SA's had some rough time this last few years, some of which has delayed me, but more to the point, I try to combine my personal travel (as much as possible) with the business travel. Aside from a possible assignment in Angola, I haven't had offers for Africa, much to my annoyance. OTOH, I have a zillion frequent flier miles, so I could just jump on a 'plane tomorrow if I had the free time.

    All food for thought. Thanks for the kind offer.

    John P.
  7. Can't think of anything to say other than you are a wonderful photographer. I would be happy to someday approach a small portion of your obvious talent.

  8. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    fantastic Peter,

    You can shoot anything with your talent.

    Thank You for sharing.
  9. One word Awesome ok tha is two words!

    WOw what a great series love the differnt view and th einteractionand framing the crowd plays very creative but for me the last one is a killer shot.. My hats off to you great job.
  10. MikeG


    Apr 30, 2005
    SF Bay Area

    Peter, you raise the bar.
  11. jamesjoyce


    May 2, 2005

    I've went trough some of your postings and if there's something where the word photojournalism exactly describes what I suppose it means, than it's certainly your work!
    I've taken quite some sport pics (badminton) but now I'm seriously rethinking my style. Seriously, untill now I'm just trying to take THE spectacular pic. One had to see behind this, something that's a gift and one probably cannot learn but I'm certainly going to try it! Thanks!

    P.S.: another guy is coming to South Africa one of these years (next?).
  12. hans


    Feb 5, 2005
    The Netherlands

    Don't say that again,these are wonder full

    Every time I look at your pictures I'm speechless, thank you for posting these

    The girl with dog is awesome.

    Question does the 17-55 with the X need more USM than f.i. the 70-200 or another lens,that's the impression I've got with my shots
  13. That last shot was really nice. It kinda puts everything into perspective. Nice set. :) 
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