I managed to get hooked up with Gameface Media in August of 2014, just in time to work the Rugged Maniac Race in Wilmot, Wisconsin on Saturday. As one of 5-6 photographers for this event, I was stationed at the "Commando Crawl" obstacle portion of the race.
This race is essentially a series of obstacles that have to be negotiated as you make your way to the finish line. The event starts a new heat of 30-40 competitors every 15 minutes. We started shooting at 9am and were done by a little after 2pm. Over the course of the day I shot nearly 7500 images.
If you’ve ever run one of these obstacle courses, you’ll probably think that just getting through it is tough, but I have to say, it would have been easier to run the course than to sit and shoot for the entire day.
As photographers we were faced with many challenges. The sun was one, it was unforgiving and direct with no clouds. I got badly sunburned. The other was the pace of shooting. We had to try to get 2-3 photographs of every competitor as they wen through the obstacle. This was not always possible, particularly when 4-5 people entered it at the same time. Even seated with a monopod, this required constant focus, which is physically and mentally exhausting. There were no breaks for the first few heats, the competitors came one after the other. Then the pace began to slow as the day progressed.
In the obstacle that I was covering, the competitors had to make their way under barbed wire, across a muddy pit of water. The competitors got to the obstacle wearing bright and festive colored and with much complaining made their way through to leave a mud-stained mess. Fortunately on route to the next obstacle (the fire jump), they were hosed down with a fire hose. I suspect the organizers do this to insure they would be the least flammable when they jumped the flames.
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