16-08-2014 | Horse Marathon Ameland

MarathonThe first day of the holiday and immediately out with the camera bag.

In the camera is an empty ticket of 16GB which should be enough for the stay here on the island. In addition, there is a bit of food and drink.

The entire day is dedicated to the Horse Marathon, in which a number of celebrities participate, including Mark Manje. It is followed, welcomed, encouraged, filmed and photographed along all the obstacles that lie across a number of pastures. The latter is kind of my role for today.

Because Mark 1 has been assigned as a starting number, this gives the advantage that we too always arrive as one of the first at the obstacles and can pick a nice place up front. This results in about 15 photos per obstacle. Around me I see a number of SLrs, but the vast majority take place as real spectators. The weather is working pretty well on that.

From obstacle to obstacle, horse and cart complete an entire course, hence the name marathon. Once along "Start" at an obstacle, time runs and it is the art to guide the entire combination along/between the objects as quickly as possible.  Once along "Finish" the pace goes back to step. After all, there are still a lot of kilometres to be covered.

Mark goes through the obstacles fluently. That's what a woman who's half behind me. "Pretty," I hear her say to her daughter. I look at her with a smile. "Yes, especially when you know his horse is blind to one eye." She looks at me in amazement and agrees with me after it's penetrated. I step between the audience, get on the bike and follow the rest of the company to the next hurdle.

So this repeats itself to number of times, up to the last obstacle. A big crowd puller: the water bowl. Evelien explains to me a little how the couples drive in and out of the water bowl. For me, driving out of the water bowl on the way to the finish line is the most important thing. However, there is a problem. Due to safety, there is no public seat on the other side. On one side of the finish I do see a building shack in front of the jury.

I put on my naughty shoes and get off to the lady with the microphone. "Can I sit there?" She looks at me and says, "You don't." Hmm, that's not going as expected. With a friendly smile I continue the conversation and while she has looked at my equipment (large black and white lens), she says that I can take a seat there as an exception at my own risk. Yes! With a heartfelt acceptance speech, I take a seat and wave to the astonished faces of the company. After Mark has also run the water bowl smoothly, the rest followhim towards the finish of the marathon. They gesture that they will be back later. No problem, I'm not leaving here! Ankle span, double span whether or not in tandem, four-horse, horse, pony, young and older participants, everything comes through the water bowl and I capture them piece by piece. On my other side I see another black and white lens, the two photographers of the island come along, the company reappears among the audience that has become rows thick and I now have to go to the toilet more urgently.


Enough for the holidays?

In total there are 70 couples. If everything goes according to schedule, they should appear at the water bowl at intervals of three minutes, but that's theory. In practice, it is sometimes a 15 minutes of waiting and then two couples immediately appear on the pitch and the next one has to wait a while before the course can be accessed. I'll see what time it is, count on that for 3.5 hours and expect it won't take too long. That's a good thing, because I see I can't get rid of many more photos on my 16GB card.

Forty-five minutes later, the couples keep coming. I always free up some extra space by deleting the blurry files directly. Everything's coming pretty smoothly in a row now, so that's going to work out, but I'm already looking around to see if I can run anywhere fast. Unfortunately, it's one big open area. If it's really out of place, I'll have to leave the field early and miss the last participants for a toilet visit. I'm going to keep going. If another couple is proclaimed, I hear there's bad news to tell. When leaving this couple, all participants came to an end. That's not bad news at all! I quickly put my camera in my backpack, zip it up and walk to the rest with a relieved walk. "I don't know what you're going to do next, but I really need to!" Laughing, they look at me understandably, I haven't been away, I've photographed everyone and it's been a few hours. "If you drive to the rental, we'll see you there. We're going to talk here for a while." Fine. Sorry. Have fun. See you later. Doeiii. After a five-minute bike ride I can lock myself up in the smallest room.

Aaaaaahhhh 🙄

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