The assignment: Cover the annual Marine Corps Marathon which starts at the Marine Corps Memorial in Roslyn, Virginia, winds through Washington, and ends back at the Memorial.
I had covered an even dozen Marathons before but this one was in 2001, a month after the terrorist attacks of 2001. Some wanted to cancel the event, fearing it would draw an attack. But organizers refused.
Annual events that are big media happenings present a number of challenges. Finding a new angle is difficult. Getting away from the hoard of other photogs is also difficult. I tend to look for locations that are away from the usual gatherings of shooters.
I had decided ahead of time that my focus on this event were the handicapped marathoners, particularly the ones who competed in wheelchairs. Many are veterans who lost a limb in service to their country. Most run their own race on a shortened course but others, Marines to the core, choose to compete on the full course.
The pride shown by these marathoners is evident and inspring. Like the competitor below who competed every year that I covered the Marathon and always finished. His face said it all: