The first rule of race pictures is that no one looks good in their race pictures. The second rule of race pictures is that no one looks good in their race pictures.
In the world of professionally taken pictures, race pictures fall under the category of “proof” pictures and not because the photography company often plasters that across the image. Race pictures serve as proof that you ran the race, much the same way that a mug shot serves as proof that you’ve been in the pokey and a driver’s license picture proves that you are moderately capable at operating motorized vehicles. As you can tell from the other members of the “proof pictures” genre these are not the types of pictures that you’ll be sending to the modeling agency as your next headshot.
However, knowing that our race pictures will most likely be unflattering doesn’t stop us from trying to pose for the camera when we see it. Listed below are the seven most common poses that we strike along with some sweeping generalizations about what each pose says about you as a person.
The Ebert & Roeper. These runners see the camera and they immediately give two thumbs up. They’re feeling good and the race is going well. The paper Gatorade cup is always half full for these runners who probably have smiling, bubbly personalities even when they’ve just woken up. They’re really annoying to grumpy runners like me.
The Hi Mom. A simple wave at the camera is enough for these runners, if they were professional athletes playing a team sport they’d be the ones mouthing “Hi Mom” to the camera. You guys know we can’t hear you right?
The Ignore. This is the most common race picture pose because it doesn’t even require you to notice the camera. Whenever these runners do spot the camera they simply ignore it as the name would imply. These runners are too focused on the pace of their race and the heat of the chase to be concerned with the contortions of their face. Or they’re just simply too tired to exert any extra effort.
The Vanity Ignore. Whenever possible, this is my particular pose of choice. These runners want you to think that they didn’t see the camera. They’re trying to pull off The Ignore, but it’s painfully obvious from the picture that they did in fact see the camera, and then puffed up their chest, lengthened their stride, relaxed their facial expression and tried to appear fast. They look like they’re trying too hard and everyone around them is wondering why this guy is suddenly sprinting at mile 8 of a half-marathon.
The Mardi Gras. These runners pulled a shirt or jacket on over their bib and then realized that they wouldn’t find their race pictures without their bib number being visible. They flash the camera like an inebriated coed on Spring Break. These runners are poor planners and like to think of themselves as “spontaneous.” Maybe next time they’ll pin their bib to their shorts, but it’s doubtful.
The Tsunami. These runners aren’t content to just give a small wave like the Hi Mom runners, no, these runners are big wavers. They are the most likely of any runners to be found wearing a costume and are probably fond of saying things like “go big or go home.” These runners are often spotted running in groups and having way too much fun. Don’t they realize they’re running?
The Muscle Beach. These runners flex at the camera when they see it. This pose is usually performed by the jocks, and frequently it’s the ones who aren’t wearing a shirt that perform it. If these pictures had a soundtrack it would be a grunt. Truth be told, we all practice this pose in front of the bathroom mirror, but these runners are bold enough to put it into action in public.
I think we covered most of the different poses here, but let us know in the comments if we missed one. I’ll leave you with a deep thought to ponder; if we all fit into one of these categories of poses, does that make us all Pose runners?