Long Island Family Photographer / The Great Cow Harbor 10K Run / Northport N.Y.

I was determined this year to make it to the The Great Cow Harbor 10K Run! The day Northport Village is taken over by athletes from all over the country. I had my morning all planed out. I told my daughter that I was flying out the door at 7 am and I wouldn't be able wait around for the babysitter. As long as I give her a heads up all is well! I got to my studio in the Village by 7:15, gathered my gear, put on my Spider Holster camera belt, (first had to check in the mirror that it looked good) haha. Then I bolted out the door. Headed toward the Harbor. It's now 7:30 and I see the finish line is still being set up. I photographed it because it's still cool, but I realize as I continue my walk to the harbor all I see is the HARBOR! Good God! Where are all the runners? Quickly I Google "Where does the Cow Harbor Race start" Bingo at the Laurel Ave School! 19 minute walk according to Waze. Drive or walk? It's 7:40 and the race starts at 8:30. I'm walking, actually speed walking! Again, so thankful for the Spider Holster. Took that weight off my shoulders and back and truly made my walk a "walk in the park"!

I race up Main Street to Laurel Ave. I see runners running? I question if I'm on time or too late? I round the corner and there they are! 5000+ runners! What a rush! I was so excited to be in the middle of all of these athletes. Some were to themselves warming up, reading the paper or reading the latest feeds on FB. Others were with their family or besties taking selfies and chatting away.

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I walked around absorbing the energy and finally saw another professional photographer. I popped over to him and started chatting and asking lots of questions. Turns out he works for Island Photography. They capture events and school photos. He pointed out that he'll be photographing from the back of the press truck. Hmmm (idea bubble!) I asked the crew on the truck if I needed a press pass or anything. Nope! So there I am on the back of this truck with multiple photographers and News 12!

I'm in the middle of the bed of this truck, nothing to hold on to, an 8 lb camera and lens in hand. Position those legs Jen and prepare for take off! I looked like a 2 legged tripod (Is that possible?)  Well it worked! Bouncing all around wondering are my images going to be in focus. Gee wizz! I had the ISO at 1600 and shutter speed at 2500. I held that shutter release like there was no tomorrow!

What a ride! Going too fast at first, turns were pretty sharp but we all held onto each other when things got a little hairy. We survived and captured the day!

The lead runners truly had the lead, they were so far ahead of the rest of the pack by the time we hit Waterside Ave.

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The press team decided that it would be best to drive ahead and prepare for the finish. Off we were but I found the spectators were key to such a successful race. All lined up on every street and every corner. Cheering, ringing their cow bells, tables filled with water ready for the runners. Awesome people!!

The truck stopped at the finish line and we all hopped out. I went around to the other side and waited. Not knowing what to expect since this was my first race. Here comes #1! The Tape was up, I crouched down to capture his approach to that moment of breaking through the finish line tape. What a great moment to capture and experience!

For most of the runners, you knew they had accomplished what they had set out to do.  Seeing them through my lens pumping their fists in the air, high fiving their running mates, hugs and gentle pats on the back of their fellow runner. I saw runners waiting for their friends or loved ones to finish and there to hug and congratulate them when they crossed that line.

I would look at the clock above as they crossed and in my head wonder if I could ever do that and at the same time wonder how in the world did they just do that?

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It amazes me the strength and determination that people have. I am in awe of each and every one of them. We are now at 1 hour and about 50 minutes and here comes something different down Main Street. 2 Fireman in full gear. The 2 that I saw earlier at the starting line sitting under a tree. I thought they were just waiting for a call. Now looking back at the photos I see they had running shoes on. Here they come, slowly approaching. So burnt out and near exhaustion but so determined! Determined not only to complete something they set out to do but I'm pretty sure it was for their brothers that had fallen on 9/11. Their heros! And gentleman, you are ours!

Congratulations to all of you that crossed that finish line! The strength that I saw in each and everyone of you has made an impression on me that I will cherish and it will help me push myself, no matter how hard that hill is, to reach my goals!

Thank you!!

And a big thank you to all the volunteers! You were amazing

To view and purchase images please visit  http://zootshootphotographers.pixieset.com/thegreatcowharbor10krun2016/

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