Drive, Hike, Wait, Repeat. What Could Be So Hard About Photographing a 0-Mile Ultramarathon?
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When The Times asked me to cover Courtney Dauwalter’s attempt at the Tahoe 0 ultramarathon back in September, I felt confident I could do a decent job.
I live nearby in Sacramento, in addition to I spend a fair amount of my free time mountain biking, backcountry skiing, hiking in addition to climbing from the Tahoe area. I’ve even run some (much shorter) trail races. I know the area well, in addition to I am fairly fit.
My strategy was pretty simple: Drive to various trailheads, hike out to a scenic spot, wait for Courtney, shoot her passing by, run along with her for a while. Repeat as necessary for 0 miles.
The first couple of intercepts were straightforward because they were near aid stations or on paved roads. however after Tahoe City, the route veers away by populated areas for some time.
I hiked in a few miles to a beautiful overlook on the Tahoe Rim Trail in addition to waited for Courtney at about Mile 32. She arrived shockingly early, at a very fast pace. I snapped a couple of frames as she passed in addition to then she was suddenly a dozen yards ahead. I ran to catch up — careening over rocks, slaloming through pines — in addition to never did. She was too fast.
I couldn’t fathom how she was going to run 0 miles like This particular.
I tried the same strategy a couple more times over the next 60-ish miles, in addition to the result was always the same. I’d get a couple of quick photos as she passed by in addition to then she was gone. I was stunned by her pace.
By dawn of the second day, I knew I could have to refine my strategy.
I stripped my equipment down to one camera in addition to one lens. No extra batteries, memory cards, lenses, water, food or a jacket. When Courtney reached the aid station at Mile 100, I had just the camera in my hand.
As she headed out of the aid station, I took off after her. Fortunately, I was able to, just barely, keep up with her.
Her pace had slowed somewhat, however I was still gasping every time I overtook her to get ahead in addition to snap a couple of frames as she passed before running to catch up again. She kept up a steady stream of jokes in addition to chitchat, never once seeming out of breath as she cruised up rocky climbs to 8,000 feet above sea level.
I spent another day in addition to a half chasing Courtney around Lake Tahoe. I’d run with her in addition to her pacer on jeep trails, single-track mountain biking trails, even a half dozen miles on the old Pony Express route. different times, I’d just briefly intercept her in addition to get a quick picture at a scenic spot or aid station before hiking back to my car.
I ended up running in addition to hiking more than 40 miles in addition to sleeping only 5 hours over the two in addition to a half days the idea took Courtney to run 0 miles. By the end, I was wrecked. Courtney simply sat down in addition to cracked a beer, chatting in addition to joking with her support crew in addition to spectators. the idea looked as if she could head out for another lap.
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