Over the last few weeks i’ve been watching an incredible series about wingsuit pilots and their search for the perfect flight. The programme follows an elite team across the world, with one episode in particular showing the abilities of the cameraman who jumps alongside the crew on all of their flights. Rather than being an outsider looking in, this cameraman forms an integral part of the team with an ability in the sport to match that of the athletes he films.
Wingsuit flying might be an extreme example to lead off with here, but I believe that in order to document adventure sports, a photographer should be able to handle the stresses and understand the underlying principles of each activity that they wish to cover. In desperate search of a summertime adventure, Trail Running came into my life in a big way in 2011. Having taken part in my first alpine half marathon the week prior, I headed to Chamonix to watch the finish of the UTMB (a 165km run from Chamonix to Chamonix around the circumference of Mont Blanc). Experiencing the passionate crowds firsthand (the valley towns around Mont Blanc are renowned for their enthusiastic support of the sport) was all the inspiration I needed to want to feature in this sport. Since then i’ve tried to develop my trail running ability through long days out training, racing ever increasing distances and documenting some of it along the way.
Fast forward to the end of this year where I find myself reflecting on a season where I raced approximately 600km. Pair that with the countless hours spent out training and a pretty solid running portfolio starts to form. Last year I experienced the otherworldly emotions of running straight through the night, from dusk until dawn. A number of my runs this year have incorporated this pleasure, with one particular race seeing me run straight through two nights. Running through one night might be a charm, but straight through two nights was just nasty.
Having ran my penultimate race of the year this weekend, I look forward to the ski season with a great appetite for snow. I want to work harder than ever whilst trying and maintain a strong level of fitness so that when running resumes i’ll be ready to experience it and document it with the same level of determination that I saw from the wingsuit pilots.
It’s might not be base jumping, but running is still a whole lot of fun.