Posted by: David Vernon | November 4, 2009

Unique Photographic Opportunity


Well here’s your chance to try something different.

The Illinois State Cross Country Championships are this weekend. In Peoria – where they always are. Right here – and so accessible to YOU. If you have had a hankering to shoot a little sports, this is indeed a unique opportunity. Head over to Detweiller Park this Saturday where you can see no less then six races, hourly starting at 9am and “running” pretty much non-stop to about 2:30pm.  Each race (three classes – male and female) lasts about 20 minutes – and then you get 40 minutes between races to explore the very rich myriad of activities going on around these state championships.

There are a number of reasons to shoot this event. While you pay $10 per car for parking, the events themselves are free. Load a few shooters into one car and it’s downright cheap. There are almost a limitless number of places to photograph the runners (although I’m partial to the end of the long straightaway at the start of every race). And those runners pass by numerous times so you get lots of chances to perfect your techniques. The color – of all the uniforms and thousands of spectators – mixed in with the greens and fading leaves at Detweiller – make for some slick vistas.

Here’s a map for those of you who’ve been under the rock and aren’t sure where Detweiller Park is. And a course map gives you a feeling for where the runners are going to be. I personally always shoot the start and then take advantage of the timing to move toward Rt. 29 to get them passing in numerous places. The area along side Park Road, up towards the finish line, is usually packed with people (and I mean PACKED). Hustle a little to get a good spot. Most people are very accommodating to letting you sit under the rope to get your shot. The only warning: the course marshals are notoriously tough on folks crossing the course at times. Always try and know where you are and where you are going – or they’ll do it for you. But there are still almost a limitless number of places to shoot from.

I leave you with a series of images I’ve shot out there over the years…

Start 3

Break from the Peloton

Start 2

1st Time

Start 1

Runner 2


  1. Awesome pictures! Gloris

  2. These are great. And, I’m not one for sports photography. I really like them – a lot! Nice work!

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