Copenhagen Marathon 2014

Since 4:56am I’ve been scrolling through hundreds and hundreds of images from yesterday’s Copenhagen Marathon and the same faces keep showing up. The difference in each picture, however, are the looks on their faces, as things gradually go from jolly and exciting to nightmarishly strenuous.

As I set off on my bike yesterday morning shortly after 9:30, I had a list of parks, bridges and city landmarks to visit with my camera. As the official photographer for the race organiser Sparta, my task was to go from A to F via C to capture the mood on the streets, as more than 10,000 runners plodded along for the next four to five hours.

But when I saw the same clown and bright yellow viking pass by for the second time several km down the road, I had a feeling I’d constantly be one step ahead of the same large group of people time after time. I wasn’t wrong, either.

Sparta, Photography by Matthew James, sports photographer, sport fotograf, copenhagen marathon, københavn maraton, #cphmarathon, runners, athletes, clown

Spot the clown, first time around.

Three hours later I had spotted said clown at least four more times, not to mention dozens of others who had already passed by and given me a wave or a smile. But as the rains came and the muscles started to seize up, the happy faces began to grimace and many of the runners became walkers.

The efforts of the roadside entertainers deserve a mention here, as drummers, DJs and singers performed some of the most uplifting songs known to man (apart from that awful, awful Crazy Frog remix of an 80s classic outside Parliament). In particular, the group of singers along Langelinie was absolutely awesome and it was at this point (around 26km) that the competitors were really starting to feel the burn. But it was impossible to not enjoy the music and most of them turned to applaud, salute or simply cheer on the singers. It was a great vibe and extremely positive.

Sparta, Photography by Matthew James, sports photographer, sport fotograf, copenhagen marathon, københavn maraton, #cphmarathon, runners, athletes, singers, performers

The singers performing up by Langelinie

Sparta, Photography by Matthew James, sports photographer, sport fotograf, copenhagen marathon, københavn maraton, #cphmarathon, runners, athletes, singers, performers

One runner (seen doing this hand gesture for the second time during the race) applauds the performers

Back in 2011 I ran the Leicester Marathon in England and crossed the line in four hours and one minute. I remember wanting to just collapse on the floor and cry with relief that it was over, and I made my dad promise to kick me in the balls if I ever contemplated running another. The problem is, after being a part of yesterday’s race, I’m in the mood to try again. To all the runners who might be reading this, I was supporting you every step of the way yesterday and there were times when I felt slightly emotional on your behalf. Whatever time you completed it in, I hope you had fun and finished safely. If you raised money for charity, good for you. If you beat a personal best, then same again.

If you see me again next year, give me a nod, or a wave, or a massive High-5!

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