Toky Photography

The Spirit of The San Francisco Marathon Part II

Posted in Photo Essay, Running, San Francisco, Toky Photography by tokyphotography on July 28, 2010

This is part II of The Spirit of The San Francisco Marathon. You can read part I here.

4:54:04 AM. Self portrait @ hotel just before stepping out.

As soon as you came out of the hotel you could see runners everywhere. It was an instant great feeling and it also eliminated the "I hope it wasn't yesterday and slept through it" feel we sometimes get when we are excited about something.

Since I was (luckily) staying at a hotel right in-front of the start line, I can't comment on the public transportation, parking situation for local runners. I always have suggestions about that, but in this case... this was awesome for me not to have to worry about getting to the start line!

Ahh! seasoned runners. You can tell because you know that at the first sight of a restroom you better use it πŸ˜‰

I don't recall water "stations" available at the start line for my other marathons. I might have missed them... but in any case, I thought this was neat. Hydration is so important and since you've been asleep for many hours before you get to the start line, it helps to have this available.

Bag check-in. The goodie bags were the bags that you had to use for them to hold your stuff. It was neat that they had an area to write the number already imprinted.

I thought it would be crowded but to be honest, there were more people than I thought. I had read that the SF Marathon didn't attract much runners, but that's clearly not the case. I think they were 23,000+ according to what I heard the day before at the Expo.

So, far so good... BUT can we improve the START sign a little? EVERYTHING was so pretty and well designed... and THIS is the START sign? 😦 Do not like.

So for those of you who don't know this... the SF Marathon starts in "waves". According to the your estimated finish time, you start at a different time. Although some people don't like that (I'm still undecided), the reason is that because the marathon crosses the Golden Gate Bridge back and forth, it's impossible for everyone to start at the same time. There's too many people and only two lanes are for running, so it would create a major runner congestion that would force almost everyone to walk it instead of running it. So I guess I'm with the ones in favor. Anyways, according to your wave, you were placed in a corral that would move toward the start line as the ones before you would start their waves.

Long lines at the portable restrooms, but gotta say they were plenty available. So the wait wasn't too bad.

OMG, more people!

The very cool thing about this start line is that the area was huge and very well illuminated, so you could go to the side and be alone and stretch. Or just have some time for yourself. Or pee πŸ˜‰

Or tie your timing chip to your shoe laces!

I think this was wave 4 barely starting to get filled in. They were a total of 8 waves and by the start time they were all packed.

You never know... and it's good to know this is there. Although, the thought that you or some of your fellow runners will be in crutches by the end of the day, is not good.

This is part of the "Spirit" of marathons. How many other times can you lay and stretch on the MIDDLE of the street and not get killed?

I'm always curious if any of the contraptions, socks, tape, etc... that some runners swear by actually works. If you have some experience of using and not using any of these things, please let us know in the comments section.

Although dogs are not allowed to run the marathon, they are allowed to come cheer their human parents. Woof!

Now, this I didn't read on, or have more info on, but apparently, there was also a bike race that was part of the Marathon event.

And in the matter of a minute or two, the sky turns from black to blue and daylight appears. I don't know about the rest yet, but if this is the view on the start-line, I can only imagine what's to come.

Wave 7 was the best one. You could just hang out anywhere and have space to yourself as our corral had an "outlet" to the sidewalk and pier areas.

This is how the front of wave 7 was looking.

Right in-front of us wave 6.

Love it! I love how her tiara has a protective elastic band that matches the color of her cap so that it won't fall. Clearly this is not the first time she wears a tiara to run!

Another observation. This was THE social media marathon. Everyone had their iPhones, Blackberries, etc... Self-portraits, photos of others. You could see how people would take a photo and immediately tweet it or facebook it. It's interesting how social media and phones allow everyone who you know to stay up to date to how your race is going. Maybe that's one of the reasons I would later find out there will not be that many people cheering along the course. They could cheer from facebook. (do not like)

I just like it when people have that "focused" look on their faces. The "this is between Me AND Me" look.

So, now wave 6 ahead of us has left and before they remove the barricades, there is a tape so that we all can walk to the start line and wait there for the time of our wave to commence.

Timing chip. If you forgot yours.... there will be no way of tracking your official time or even a record that you ran the marathon. A lot of people were already wearing theirs on Saturday. Better safe than sorry!

Preparing her Nike+ app on her iPhone. Mine broke but I did use it for the Nike human race and on one marathon and was blown away by how accurate the mile reading was on that thing.

Just under the START sign. One minute to go.

This is one of my favorite photos from the entire race. You can't see any faces but you can tell, these girls are ready! Also notice how all the people at the front line are girls. They are the most eager to get going!

That was the announcer guy (with the visor). I missed his name, so if anyone knows who he is, please let me know so I can post it.

And 3-2-1!!!! Here we go!

First part of the marathon goes next to all the Piers. This one is the one were you would board a ferry to go to Alcatraz. I would have loved to take one of those tours and take some pics of Alcatraz. Next year! πŸ˜‰

So far so good. Note to self: "Don't go too fast, your ankle hurts, take it slow".

I did take 10 second "brakes" every little while to snap a few pics from the crowd behind me. I realized from the last photo essay I only did that once or twice and I wanted to do that a bit more this time.

Love this guy. Now THAT is a high-five!

This part was really beautiful. We are two miles into it. You could even run on the sand for a second if you wanted. It was so peaceful and with a great view.

This was the view!

And if you don't like the view on the right, may I interest you in some Ghirardelli Chocolate from Ghirardelli Square on the left side? anyone?

Some people went to the right and skipped the very first hill of the course. Clever but useless, as this was absolutely NOTHING compared to the hills we were about to see.

Like this one!

Top of the hill. First hill: check!

What goes up, must come down!

I have few complaints about this Marathon, but one of them is the signs. I totally missed the sign for miles 1 and 2. They were flimsy and if the wind was blowing, you couldn't even see the number in them 😦

"10 sec break, shoot photo of runners behind you, now keep going"

Totally random but I love this photo. It just seems fun to be walking your dog and all of a sudden have 23,000 people run by.

Mile 4 already?! Woohoo!

I don't know if this guy was one of the official entertainers or if he just grabbed his drum and came to play! Either way, any and all distractions work!

The nice folks from Sports Basement. I'm starting to notice this is only the second "big" group of people cheering... hmmm... that's weird!

First sight of the Golden Gate Bridge! and of course a Kodak moment. Why not take a 15 sec break and snap pics seemed to be in everyones mind. Oh and tweet it really fast also!

This is going to be cool! We are getting closer!

Here we go. Run the Golden Gate Bridge. If I'm not mistaken running it back and forth and the loop at the end will be a total of three miles.

Look up!

As much I love the "Grammy" and her "high 6" grandchildren... I don't think talking on the phone with thousands of runners behind you on a single lane is such a great idea... i'm just sayin'

The people on the left are like 3 miles ahead of us! You could totally just turn around and join them and do a 23 miler πŸ˜‰ but something tells me there will be a sensor on the loop at the end to make sure nobody pulls a fast one!

Just Married! What a great thing to train for a marathon as you prepare your wedding to relieve the stress and then honeymoon in the marathon city. While not for everyone... it might work. I seem to be full of tourism ideas today!

I appresh the effort to come cheer for your loved ones in the middle of the bridge. That's love! And a long walk back to the car!

This is the end of the bridge, looking back. I gotta say, running across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, with the fog and the wind, and all that adrenaline.... was amazing. Definitely a bucket-list moment!

So as soon as you finished going North on the bridge, there was a very appropriately placed water station, sensor-timmer (told you so), restrooms and a band playing. I had no clue the name of this band, but if someone knows them, please let me know who they are so I can post it.

And now on the way back, since we are at the end tail of the runners the two lanes turn into south ones. The people still coming north have to run on the side.

So, after that, I didn't take pics for a while. My ankle started hurting really bad. Mix of adrenaline and pain cremes and stuff got me through the first 10 miles. Now I'm starting to feel it. To make matters worse.... as soon as we were coming off the Golden Gate Bridge, a lady a few feet ahead of me tripped and fell. She didn't have time to put her hands in-front of her and fell face first. A bunch of people stopped to help her. And I felt that sense of community and humanity that this events have. She was hurt and some people didn't care about stopping to help her even if it would take time from their official finish time. I saw an ambulance close by and ran towards it. As I was getting closer the paramedics came out and started going towards her, so they already new. I hope she is okay. I hope she was able to keep going! I sent you positive vibes lady and hope you got them and that you are ok! πŸ™‚

Now we are heading into Golden Gate Park.

At this point, I knew I wouldn't be able to keep going to another 13 miles. I though of just finishing as a half-marathoner and then taking one of the shuttles to the Marathon finish line and documenting that way. I stopped for a few seconds, and all I could think of was my Mom. She broke her hip last year and she refuses to walk by herself because she is afraid of falling again. I always tell her that millions of people that don't even have the ability to walk would give anything to have her legs. I was in a lot of pain, because of my sprained ankle, but I decided to be grateful for my legs and keep going "for mom" and knew I would be able to power through with my aching ankle.

Once the half-marathon runners are divided from the full-marathon , the group thinned a lot!

This kid was awesome. Look at his face! He started yelling at me: "Why are you running with your camera"!!!??? I don't know kid, I'm crazy like that πŸ˜‰

Ok, one of the COOLEST things of this marathon. The road assistance guys all over the 26.2 mile course were local bikers! They were all volunteers and they were everywhere! With their bikes and orange caps! They were so friendly, excited to be there and were cheering and yelling encouraging words to all of us. Oh wait, what is that? another chance to do a half? or is this for the people that are running the second half that started at the end of the first? Confused.

The run around the park was the low-point for me of this race. No race is perfect. I totally understand that it takes incredible effort on behalf of the City to organize and host this and that we are inconveniencing people that could care less about insane 26 mile runners like us, but the park loop was way too long. There was nothing to see except greenery and more greenery and I lost the "marathon" feel. It was like a run in the park. To make matters worse, not only are the people that cheer scarce on this race, in the park, they were non-existent! So anyways, seeing the peeps from dailymile was a welcome sight AND they were giving away M&M's!

I gave it the benefit of the doubt. It was a beautiful park, don't get me wrong, but there was no marathon feel to it.

And... confusing. So these two girls in front of me took out their map, because there was no sign! You could either go left or go right. But nothing was telling you were to go. Who runs a marathon with a map!!!??? but thank god they did because we all stopped behind them and just followed them!

Gorgeous? yes.... but.... too long. Three people I talked to and two I overheard at the hotel said the same thing. A guy in the elevator said to me "Best part, the Golden Gate Bridge", "Worst part, the park. It was relentless". Beautiful scenery though.

This was my favorite moment of the race. That guy caught up with my pace and asks me: "Do you know if the 5:45 pacer is ahead of us"? I say: "I don't know, I think so... we are going too slow". He says, "well the 6:00 hr pacer is behind us for sure". And I said to him: "Are you sure? I mean, I think he has passed us also" and he answers "No! of that I'm sure. I've been looking for him because there's no way I will come above 6 hrs. All I want is to finish under the 6 hr mark so that they give me a medal"!

This photo, I just took as reminder of that moment of the race for me. See, a marathon, is a little bit like a mirror. It shows you who you are. And for the 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 or whatever amount of hours it takes you to finish, you see who you are. You see yourself and your thoughts about what is possible and about what you can endure and "mind over body". So my ankle was hurting so bad and I was so annoyed that this park loop would never end, that I looked up and said to God "I'm just going to stop complaining and I'm going to be thankful. I'm in freakin' San Francisco, running my 4th marathon!!! So THANK YOU God"

Mile 18! Woohoo!

Again, the biker idea: GENIUS! Not sure if this was the first time or if it's an every year occurrence... but it was such an original and fun detail. Very clever SF!!!!

OMG! Is that the park exit? For reals? YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seems like it is! We are free! Yay!

Let me look back to make sure!

Okay, let's power through.

I have to look up the name of this street. It was full of neat little restaurants, shops, and houses. I know I should be a better "tour" guide for the people reading this, but my ankle was hurting so much I was starting to hallucinate.

Neat architecture all over. And colorful!

Look at that downhill!!!!!!!!!!! Amazing!

Ok, last Rant. This is around mile 23 or so. And it's the FIRST sign I see that the habitants of San Francisco put out. The runners had all the spirit, but the habitants of the City could have cared less that a marathon was going on. The only very few people cheering as you can see in all the photos were basically relatives of the runners. And that was it. It reminded me that last year at the LA Marathon on the famous stadium-t0-sea course was the one (LA) Marathon with the least amount of citizen "cheer". You want to know which one had the most? The first one I ever did. The one everyone complained because it went through the ugliest and poorest parts of Los Angeles. Well, those people would set tables in front of their houses buy treats, oranges, bananas, mini-pretzels, make lemonade and the entire family took this as an "activity" for the day and had their kids excited about handing water and food to the runners. I realized then last year while running on the richest part of LA that very few people cared (not saying it was the whole route, but yes on the "fanciest" ones). So, I also think that my Marathon photo-essays can help improve cities to organize their marathons. What about some city contests? what about best water station booth by locals? most original cheer troupe? loudest? How about some fliers where the route goes by to the residents in the area with neat photos and graphics and maybe a local discount motivating them to come out and cheer. Let me tell you something: The people at the front of the race, don't need it. They can finish a marathon in 3 hours with or without cheers. But the people struggling at the end, we appreciate it, it distracts us, when you see our name on our bib and you yell to us as if you know us that we can make it, that we are awesome, that we are almost there.... we believe you.

My ankle bandage was starting to come off. The beginning of the end. 😦 I can't even run anymore, not even a few yards, so let's walk.

This was a neat part for me. I love industrial looking stuff and architecture. The giant stadium with the empty seats looked really cool.

And I think Joe Perry is town....

Something for everyone to see along the route.

Now, I said there were very few people cheering but I didn't say there wasn't a great cheerer! This lady was awesome. You can see her here smile all the way back and you could hear her from a mile away. She was so happy, so cheerful, so loud and appropriately on Mile 25 she was yelling "YOU ARE ALMOST THERE, YOU ARE ALMOST THERE"!!!!!! (thanks lady)

Yep. Almost there.

This was cool, the AT&T Park. Home of the San Francisco Giants. Neat architecture. It was awesome to run next to it. And another crazy idea, how about some places like this were you could run "through"? I know I know, people would think the place would be destroyed, but if you think about it, we would just be running through. I don't even know if it would work in stadiums or other venues... maybe... just a thought. If you have an idea about a "run-through" venue for a marathon please say so in the comments. As I said, crazy idea, hallucinating with ankle moving on.

You take my picture, I take yours!

Omg, this is it. Final stretch. Mile 25.5.....

This brought a big smile to my face because the guy from the park was right, the 6 hr marathon pacer had not run past us. He did at the very end of my race. Meaning I came in around that time. But I really hope that dude got his wish and did a 6 hr marathon.

Appropriately placed Pier 26 , right in front of the 26 mile marker. Coincidence?

See what I was telling you about my mom and her walking earlier? I have friends that say "I would run a marathon... but" The list goes something like this: I have bad knees, I can't run, I can't wake up early, My boobs are too big, I've never been good at it, I used to run but I don't anymore, I did track back in high-school, it's too dangerous to run on the street, the air quality is so bad, etc... etc... You know what? If you don't want to run... DON'T... but don't say anything. Don't say "I would.. but", because there are amazing people that nothing stands on their way... those are real marathoners. Whether the guy did the half or the full... it doesn't really matter.... THAT IS THE SPIRIT OF THE MARATHON.

And.... before you know it... there it is. The finish line!

Now on the other side of it! Once again, thought I couldn't do it, but I did. I sometimes doubt myself. I shouldn't.

Guy waiting for his peeps to cross.

Look!: a bunny!

I considered going in, but I'm one of those guys that I don't go to the Doctor because I'm afraid. So I thought if I go in, what if they send me to the hospital? what if my leg is falling? what if I get a $40,000.00 bill? Let's old-school it and submerge in ice for a few hours and take it from there. And you know what? the best part of staying at Hotel is the ice-machine in every floor!

Good to know they were there though.

But for now papa, needs a medal!

I'll take that one.

Here are two pics of runners getting their medals placed

Which gives me yet, one more idea, I promise this will be the last.... how come non of the Marathon Photo people stand next to the medal people? I think that we all feel like Olympians when they put our medal around our necks. Why not have a photo of that?

More volunteer bikers!

This finish area was great for me. It was VERY roomie! There was sitting area, medical area, etc... All well distributed, the fences were far away so you didn't feel constrained you could sit, keep walking, it was very spacious!

and even get a massage!

This guy knows how to color-coordinate!

And this guy is over-it! lol.

I guess that to have completed a marathon that "even marathoners fear" (according to the Wall Street Journal 7/13/2010) in a little above six hours, with a sprained ankle and carrying a DSLR camera... is not too bad.

Hey! I think this was the girl at the beginning with the "It's between Me AND Me" look!

Green & Recycling 'till the very end. BRAVO SF!

Was it worth the hurt? Yep, it totally was. Will do it over and over again.

This was a guy getting off from the elevator back at the Hotel. It was amazing to have that feeling of companionship like soldiers that went to war together. It was all over the area. In the hallways, in the elevator, on the street in front of the hotel, at the restaurant. Like minded people..... BUT... I made a point of snapping this elevator photo because you know how on every elevator ride we take we tend to ignore the people in it? We look up to see the floor display or we keep our headphones on, or we check our phone? This time on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, I talked with people on every elevator ride I took. Either they talked to me, or I felt comfortable enough to talk to them and ask them something. Are you here for the marathon? How was your marathon? what did you like best? where are you from? etc.... You were not scared of people not answering or being rude and you felt great when people talked to you. It was just a great feeling of a community of runners that love, love, love to run.

And this is me. Now coming back to my room. 26.2 miles stronger.

In the end, I have to say that the San Francisco Marathon is a challenge. The Wall Street Journal is right. The amount of hills is basically ridiculous. You can’t even count them. The sights are gorgeous, maybe even draining in a way because you have all your senses on to take every little bit in. Running through the Golden Gate Bridge is indescribable. The wind first resists you and then on the way back it pushes you forward as if apologizing for the initial resistance. Ankle injury or no, the SF Marathon is a challenge that I want to conquer again. It pushes me to train harder and run hills until they don’t even faze me. I will become one with hills and be back stronger next year. At first when I read that WSJ article I felt it might be intimidating to a lot of folks and turn them off from the race. But now I see it as the opposite. Like something that people will challenge themselves with. Like you want an easy marathon? well, don’t run a marathon then! Lightly jog or do a 5k… but you want to call yourself a Marathon runner? Then run the San Francisco Marathon.

Related: The Spirit of The San Francisco Marathon Part I (Getting to San Francisco & the Expo)


45 Responses

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  1. […] Part II has now been posted and can be seen here: Tagged with: Dane Rauschenberg, Dean Karnazes, embarcadero, essay, expo, hyatt, lululemon, […]

  2. Johan Ruda said, on July 28, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Great job! πŸ˜€

  3. said, on July 28, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    I really like your pic THE SPIRIT OF THE MARATHON. Good messge.

  4. Diana said, on July 28, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Thanks Toky for the pics! You know, I never commented on the LA Marathon ones but I loved them so much. I actually forwarded the pics to my runner mom and she said “you’re in one” and we were laughing so hard because in the picture from LA where you say “it’s good to see people behind you!” there I am! LOL πŸ™‚ We love that so much, we joke about it a lot.

    We only did the first half this time around, but are so glad that you were there with us again πŸ™‚ Thankfully, no pictures of me behind you this time πŸ˜‰ Congratulations on the Marathon. This was a brutal race!

    • tokyphotography said, on July 29, 2010 at 11:14 pm

      Thanks Diana! It’s amazing to me how the true Marathon runners are a community amongst the thousands of people running and through stuff like these essays we can find each other on different races!

  5. polynesian_metal said, on July 28, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    HI Toky!
    How cool! You were in my wave and you were right, wave 7 rocked it! For your pics. I don’t know the name of the announcer in the visor, but next to him is Bart Yasso, the CRO of Runner’s World. I had the chance to meet him at a tweetup on Friday. . That historic street with all of the shops and colorful Victorians is none other than THEE HAIGHT of Haight/Ashbury 60’s Hippie Fame and Yes! The Bikers were my favorite part. Ever present and always encouraging. I got misty and emotional reliving my wave through your pics! Thanks for slowing down to take them. For me the park was just fine and the Conga player and drummer after we split from the first half peeps was the most surreal moment, like you said, a reflection of ourselves. I had a hard ass time for the last mile, my wave was dropping. Cool that we were all about in the same condition and felt it at the same time. Shared the pain. I just have to thank you tons for posting these!

    • tokyphotography said, on July 29, 2010 at 11:17 pm

      Thanks for the info! It’s my goal to come up with some sort of site design where people will able to add to my comments to make sure the information is correct. There’s only so much you can gather as you are running. I totally forgot about the tweetups! I really wanted to attend the Saturday one, although your was on Friday. Anyways, thanks man. Hooray for wave 7!

  6. Beth said, on July 28, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    Amazing job, and amazing pictures! A challenging course under normal circumstances, way to push through the pain and get it done!
    I agree totally on lack of spectator support, but my hubby informed me many of the peeps he works with are completely annoyed by the marathon because of the traffic havoc it creates in the city.
    As for running with gadgets, ect…I always run w/my camera too (although my pics are no where near your quality), and this was my first marathon wearing arm sleeves. My 6 year old picked blue cheetah print…ugh, but I loved them. Kept the arms warm and I tucked my packets of sports beans in the tops.
    Congrats, again, and thanks for the pics!

    • tokyphotography said, on July 29, 2010 at 11:18 pm

      Thank you Beth! I guess you are right about the people annoyed by the traffic… but still… I’m going to come up with something to get more people to cheer for the runners. I’m on a mission!

  7. Jess said, on July 29, 2010 at 1:55 am

    Thanks for doing the double-hard task of running a marathon AND doing a photo essay! We were in the first half and you totally captured the feeling of it. Just looking through the photos just now was like re-living it, especially the pre-race photos. Nicely done!

  8. erin said, on July 29, 2010 at 5:09 am

    Absolutely amazing! Thank you for chronicling your experience and sharing it with us! Congrats on your achievement. Hope to see you next year!

  9. Greg Goebel said, on July 29, 2010 at 6:15 am

    Great job with the photo essay! I was in your wave and saw you about mile 3 I think. Way to gut it out, and thanks for capturing the moments so I could relive it.

  10. tokyphotography said, on July 29, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    In Response to:

    Ed Ettinghausen said, on July 29, 2010 at 4:23 am (Edit) posted on:

    Well, well, well . . . You seem to have a knack of getting great shots of my backside – which some would say is my better side. I’m the 6:00 hour pace leader guy with all the bright colors. Does that colorful backside look a little familiar to you? I’ll give you some clues: black boot; colorful board shorts; broken leg; L. A. Marathon. YES! you got it! I’m the broken leg dude from your L A Marathon photo-journal! Once again, you’ve done a great job, and your pictures really do capture the Spirit of the Marathon, just like at L. A. By the way, after about 10 marathons/ultras, I was able to get rid of the boot, and am now able to run/walk marathons again (SFM was my 36th marathon/ultra in 2010). FYI: the girl with the bunny rabbit ears & tail is fellow Marathon Maniac Jessica β€œWabbitz” Montoya, completing her 18th marathon (14th for the year), with boyfriend Steve Hernandez who had already finished his 45th marathon (32nd for the year), and came back out to run the last miles a second time, so he could come in with his girlfriend. Also, the lady with the face injury did complete the half-marathon (my wife talked to her at the finish).
    Keep up the good work on the photo-journals. Where will you be next.
    (I’ll see if I can’t weasel my backside into one of your photo-journals, for a third time!)

    • tokyphotography said, on July 29, 2010 at 11:27 pm

      Wow! Ed. What a nice surprise. Do you know that for a second I though of you when I saw the shorts but for some reason dismissed it. Thanks for the additional info on the other runners you posted. I appreciate it and it helps to make the photo essay more complete. THANK YOU!

      I don’t know where I will be next. I’m just getting started with this. I’m going to go to which ever marathon wants to bring me in to document it. Hopefully there will a lot and all over the country. We will cross paths again, of that I’m sure.

      And next time I promise to say Hi!

  11. Raciel said, on July 29, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    Toky does it again! Great pics!

    What’s your next race? Are you doing to do the Marine Corps Marathon in DC because that would be a FAB running photo essay!

    • tokyphotography said, on July 29, 2010 at 11:50 pm

      I just saw their website. You are right. It would be amazing! I’m going to send them a note to see if they would be interested. I was actually googling right now “marathons by state” to map some possible upcoming destinations. Any other suggestions you have will be greatly appreciated. THANK YOU!

  12. Jessica Montoya said, on July 30, 2010 at 2:23 am

    Thanks for capturing the marathon moment and sharing it along to others, you truely made me re-live the moment and make me feel as if I’m back in San Francisco running along the entire course. My friend Ed posted a link to your photos and I happened to noticed that I came out in a few with my boyfriend Marathon Maniac “Cadillac” Steve Hernandez along with another Marathon Maniac friend of mine Sofie Romero who I ran from start to finish. I’m the gal with the bunny ears and tail =).

    Keep up the great work and I do recall seeing you a few times on the course taking pictures when my friend Sofie and I would look back.

    Best wishes and hope to see you on the road

    • tokyphotography said, on July 30, 2010 at 5:25 am

      Thanks Jessica! I do recall that I ran behind you guys for like the last 4 miles or so πŸ™‚

  13. Collin said, on July 30, 2010 at 4:50 am

    These pictures are something else, let me tell you! I really enjoyed flipping through and thinking, damn “I ran that.” Its truely amazing to see pictures of what you run when you don’t pay that much attention to the city around you, while you race. But, this got me a little ticked:
    “Let me tell you something: The people at the front of the race, don’t need it.”
    I needed every single ounce of the people cheering me on to get me through that, I broke 3 hours, but without those groups of people cheering me on and me raising my arms and cheering with them, I would not have been able to do it. Thanks for the pictures though, but the crowds cheering the people in the front help keep them in the front.

    • tokyphotography said, on July 30, 2010 at 5:29 am

      Thanks Collin. You are right. It does help us all. I guess I also meant that at the tail end, with the slowest runners, the crowds were almost non-existent. At one moment I wondered if there were spectators early on that then left once the runners were thinning out and didn’t stay to cheer for slower runners. But so far some 3-4 hr peeps told me crowds were scarce also.

      I am glad you like the pictures. THANK YOU!

  14. Luis Bueno said, on July 30, 2010 at 4:54 am

    What a fantastic series of pictures you took. You even got me in one of the shots (the one with the dogs, I’m right there in the background!)

    I remember the course and what it was like obviously, since the marathon was just a few days ago, but with your pictures I will be able to remember the marathon vividly for months and years to come, I’m certain.

    My hat goes off to you for taking your camera and chronicling the race this way. Fantastic.

    • tokyphotography said, on July 30, 2010 at 5:30 am

      Thanks Luis! That’s the purpose of these essays. So thank you very much for saying that.

  15. Dawn said, on July 30, 2010 at 5:18 am

    Loved this….a new runner and only did the 5K Progressive…..working towards a 1/2 this spring and then next year the SF as my 1st marathon. Your photos were inspiring!

  16. barb said, on July 30, 2010 at 5:31 am

    INCREDIBLE photos! I signed up but couldn’t make it down last minute, and these photos are amazing… and you did it carrying an SLR. AWESOME!!!

  17. Dallas said, on July 30, 2010 at 5:42 am

    Thank you Toky. Great pics! You certainly saw things that I missed. Blessed be.

  18. Marcela Torres said, on July 30, 2010 at 5:58 am

    awesome photo blog!!! It is a great! ur comments really inspired me to train for a full marathon! I run SF 1/2 started in Wave 7 as well!!
    , it was my 4th 1/2 completed, Now Im seriously going to start training for a full.. Surf City sounds like a nice run.. I did the 1/2 surf City this year.
    Again, thanks for sharing awesome pics and stories!!
    Marcela πŸ™‚

  19. Stephanie said, on July 30, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Thanks for your photo essay! This was my first marathon, and my feeling of elation was just about to fade away….but this invigorated me!!!!

    That street you thought was so neat and were hallucinating on??? That was Haight and Ashbury area–so it was appropriate to be hallucinating there πŸ™‚

    You can look at the name of the first band on the “Entertainment link” on the SF marathon homepage.

    And I would agree: Hell’s Angels were an AWESOME surprise. They sort of made up for the lack of spectators for me.

    Thank you!!!!

  20. Lisa said, on July 30, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Found you through Luis’ Facebook post. AMAZING photo essay. I’m running my first half in SF in October and the pics of the course were great to see. Thanks for doing this. I totally agree about the camaraderie of runners…it’s a beautiful thing.

  21. aila said, on July 30, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    WOW!! GREAT feeling and story – I re-lived the whole race through your photos and commentary. I was also in wave 7, so you got the right moment on each photo (I actually am in 2 of them…in front of Alcatraz landing (pink hat, black dress – blonde) just from behind of course). I posted this link on my facebook, I hope you don’t mind. I think I’m going to send it also to my dad, so he can feel how it felt (he is in Finland).
    Thank you for doing this, you have no idea what a gift it is!!

  22. Ramondo said, on July 30, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    oh man you are ridiculous carrying an slr the whole way (I mean that only with the best for you). I’m in one of your pictures!

  23. COONKITTY said, on July 30, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    thank you for your pictures. i did the first half (my first) and can’t wait to do it again next year!

  24. Jill said, on July 30, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    My friend, Luis, sent me over because I was telling him that most of that race, except for the dragging on of GG park, was kinda blur (omg, that was long. And I was confused many times if I was in the right spot and didn’t make a wrong turn and was now in the 1/2 marathon or the 10K or whatever. I looked at many bibs in that park to make sure I was in the right place). He said you’d love this pictoral account of the race. I DO!! Thank you. You also got my friend in the pink tiara and boa – it was her birthday that day. Here is her blog if you want to read her account:

    I ran with a stress fracture in my heel so I can attest to the mental strength you must have had to push through that to the end with your ankle. I hope for a speedy recovery for you. And maybe I’ll see you next year at the SF marathon :)!

  25. Shelvin said, on July 30, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Hi Toky,
    You did a great job capturing the race and its festivities. Thanks for sharing with us.
    I am one of those who wears Zensah calf sleeves on my runs longer than 10 miles. I can tell you that they do work. Actually, I came into the SF Marathon with a calf injury. The sleeves allowed me to run an incredible PR. Try them out and you can see for yourself. I also picked up a 2nd pair at the Expo from 2XU.

    Thanks again, Shelvin

  26. Vince Chan said, on July 31, 2010 at 2:58 am

    thank you for posting such great pictures of our event

  27. Becky said, on July 31, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Your photos were awesome….you caught the “spirit” and the HEART of the marathon for sure πŸ™‚ I also ran with my camera and did the half marathon because running across the Golden Gate bridge on the ROAD has been a dream of mine since I first visited San Fran in 1993. I had to laugh at the pic of the sign showing the split for half marathoners and full because as I passed that, I kept thinking how thankful I was that I had only selected to do the half on this marathon! I was silently praying for each and every marathon runner at that point for their finish. You and all of the others who completed the full marathon have my ultimate respect!! Congratulations on your completion of this, the one that is worth the hurt (TM) πŸ˜‰ and best wishes in your many more to come!! πŸ™‚ And thank you again for sharing your photos! πŸ™‚

  28. Lisa said, on August 1, 2010 at 5:06 am

    Great job!! I loved this photo essay. I have wanted to do this race for a long time and now I want to even more.

    Your photos were incredible and I can’t wait to see what you do next.

    • tokyphotography said, on August 2, 2010 at 5:29 am

      Don’t know which Marathon is next. I will go to whichever Marathon wants me to document! I will keep you guys posted. Hopefully there’s many more to come πŸ˜‰

  29. Jenny said, on August 2, 2010 at 1:39 am

    Thank you again! I forwarded your photos from the LA Marathon and I will do it again for this. Your pictures and comments are a total inspiration.

  30. Jay said, on August 2, 2010 at 2:36 am

    Another awesome photo recap.. I really enjoyed your LA Marathon work, and retweeted it. My wife, Jenny, (commented above), also ran this marathon. I’m training for the upcoming Disney Half-Marathon, which I believe DOES run through the Anaheim Angels Stadium.. so not only is your idea a great one, it is possible. I’m an amateur photographer/hobbyist, so just curious and have to ask about your gear.. especially the early morning photos. They look pretty sharp, so I was wondering what ISO, and lens? DOF looked pretty narrow .. is that f1.2? Sorry for the geeky questions. Terrific inspiring photos. See you at the LA Marathon..

    • tokyphotography said, on August 2, 2010 at 5:35 am

      Wow! That is good to know… I think running through -anything- that will distract us, is worth it. I was actually looking at the Disney Marathon in Orlando yesterday. Now that Marathon runs through -everything-! That would be an awesome one to run!

      As far as the technical stuff, I shot anywhere from 100 ISO to 1600 ISO. All the ones when it was dark I’m sure are the 1600 ones and then started lowering it as the day went by. As far DOF it also varied from f1.4 to f11. I actually surprised my self how at some points I was switching settings just for the ‘creative’ side of things… as if I didn’t have other things to focus on!

      Thanks Jay (& Jenny!)

  31. Gaurav said, on August 10, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Hi Toky

    Great race report and photos! I started the race with a torn calf and almost limped to the starting line … dropped from Wave 2 to 3 and plodded my way to a painful but satisfying finish. I agree the most boring part was the park.

  32. tom said, on August 14, 2010 at 1:43 am

    Do you have a copy of your photos on disc for sale?

  33. Becka said, on January 3, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Thank you so much for the photo essay πŸ™‚ I’ve recently just started running and would love to complete one of the bigger marathons someday. This is definitely an inspiration!

  34. Ed Ettinghausen said, on March 16, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Hey Toky, Ed Ettinghausen here – the guy with the “broken leg” at “Spirit of the Marathon” at L.A. Marathon, and the clown with the 6:00 hour pace sign at “Spirit of the San Francisco Marathon”. I’ll be out at L.A. Marathon this year, but on a little more serious quest. You see, in exactly one year – 3/21/10 to 3/20/11 – sandwiched between two L.A. Marathons, I will have completed 107 marathons. The current Guinness World Record for most marathons in a year is held by my friend and fellow Marathon Maniac, Larry Macon – 106. Actually, as of today, I have 102 marathons in a year, but plan to complete four back-to-back marathons at a 24-hour race in Corona – – from 9 PM Friday to 9 PM Saturday. After that I will be heading to Santa Monica to join two friends that will be doing the Badwater 135 Ultramarathon with me this July, and we will run an unofficial reverse L.A. Marathon, finishing up in time to join all 26,000 L.A. Marathon participants for the regular start. Just thought you might like to know that, if you are planning to do another L.A. Marathon photo essay. You’ll no doubt finish ahead of me, as I’ll be coasting in on fumes for a 6-hour plus marathon. Hope to see you there, and looking forward to more marathon photo essays.

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