I am seeing more and more adventure athletes taking technology like a Go Pro or something like that on the trail with them.
I have a lot of problems with anything that is a distraction to what they’re really doing. I have seen many athletes stop to take a selfie, or try to get a panoramic shot and end up falling, or dropping their device.
Having a phone on a long course can be a life saver, and I am actually pro-selfie, when it is appropriate. For the athlete, I ask them to be aware of their surroundings. The others are on the course to test their bodies to the extreme and are not usually able to stop or get out of your way. They WILL hit you if you are in the way, and they will be pissed if they get injured from selfie stupidity.
Having basic rules about devices on the course is a great plan, as is having a simple guide to the rules about exiting the course to take images.
There is also the honest fact that metal objects are slippery when you are sweaty. Lots of things get jostled or dropped when you’re on any course. A thing in motion, likes to stay in motion. If you are jostling a phone that has no power to fly, gravity will connect and smash the shit out of that screen. Ouch!
That phone you are now running with has smashed glass, an irritant that can make you bleed. Not great, and FYI, flies love blood and can outrun even a cheetah.
I will tell the people who are walking or running the course on the very back end to look out for items like this that may have been discarded, dropped, or just flat out lost and we will put them in the lost and found at the end.
Besides, selfies are the BEST when they are at the finish line.
This is a time in the world that people want to remember events, and extreme events are specially exciting.
I will tell you that no one looks great while they’re performing strenuous acts. So if you’re going to be taking a lot of photographs on the trail, give people a heads up so they can smile and not look like they’re feeling as awful as they probably are.
I also see a lot of photographers come to events to get endurance imagery. What I will do for those photographers is let them know the check points that I will be at, give them any tools or tips on the trail that they will want such as lighting and time, and give them my schedule.
If that photographer is going to have many points on the course I will actually send them with a walkie-talkie. That way they can communicate back to the main Trail Driver any information that they are finding out on the trail. They may spot an athlete in trouble, a road that has trouble, or an area that may have been flooded. Giving the photographer permission to be another helpful set of eyes on the trail can be very helpful.
I do remind photographers that they must keep their equipment and themselves out of the way of athletes. I can’t have them interrupting the pattern of an athlete, the course of an athlete, or having an athlete trip to try to get out of their way. I will frequently look them in the eye and remind them that it is dangerous for them on that road, and their safety is also important.
If you’ve ever had a bicyclist going very fast crash into you it’s pretty awful. And it’s definitely going to ruin the mood of the day.
What is a huge win for everyone is that in today’s world photographers are able to get their images back to the athlete as close to real time as possible, and the photographer is able to get the images that they’re looking for. A Trail Driver can not only help the photographer, but can utilize the photographer as another tool on the trail. The Trail Driver will always want to know who is on the trail, why they are there and when they’re going to be there. Frequently photographers are going out ahead of the team so they will actually see details of the trail even before the trail runner does.
And be sure to snap a picture with the photographer – they rarely have pictures of themselves!