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|| News Item: Posted 2000-04-27

Marathon Man
By Matthew J. Lee, Boston Globe

Here is my latest episode in my life as a photojournalist...

The most horrific Boston Marathon experience happened last Monday. I hope to never repeat. I was assigned to shoot from the women's leaders truck. I got there really early and my truck driver wasn't there, so I asked the wheelchair driver who was parked behind my truck what time I needed to be there? He told me 11:30.

Photo by Patrick Whittemore

Photo by Patrick Whittemore
So off I go looking for features and then went inside the media house at the starting line to stretch the cramping in my lower back.

When I arrived at 11:15 the truck was gone!

They drive 7 miles down the route and wait until the lead women get there. The race starts at 12 noon. I'm screwed. A major shooting position and the Boston Globe isn't there? We had a reporter on the truck who called the sports editor telling him there isn't a globe photographer on the lead women's truck. The sports editor back at the office is going crazy, yelling at my photo editors "what the f**k are you doing in your department", etc.

In my desperate attempt to salvage this fuck up I found 4 kids at the starting line standing over their bikes. I offered one of the kids 80 bucks to loan me his bike to ride it 7 miles down the track to catch the truck. So here I am riding this tiny mountain bike, 2 camera bodies around my neck, a 500mm f4 lens with monopod attached slung on my shoulder, while the kid who owned the bike rode double and the other two followed.

At about the 4 mile point the wheelchair leaders fly past my sorry ass like I'm not moving. Oh shit I'm not going to make it. I'm breathing and hyperventilating so hard I feel as if I'm going to puke. I hit a hill and towards the top I had to get off and walk the last 20 yards because I had no air left in my lungs.

Well I made the truck with 15 minutes to spare and the Boston Herald photographer made a picture of me and two of the kids riding towards the truck, which it ran in yesterday's "Inside Track" column (a media gossip column), with a 6 inch story. And that Boston Herald photographer who I sat side by side on the truck only had 2 pictures in their paper the next day, while I had 5.

If I didn't recover and get on that truck, I probably would have been suspended and maybe prohibited to shoot sports for the paper forever!!

Oh well, hopefully it will be funnier in a couple of years.

(Matthew J. Lee, formerly of the Miami Herald, has been a staff photographer at the Boston Globe for 6 months.)

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