Monday, February 13, 2012

The First Annual Earn Your Donuts Bad Race Photo Contest

I think race photos capture us at some of our best moments; when we're out there giving the best effort we can at something we (hopefully!) enjoy, no matter the level of competition. Better still are the ones taken at the end of the race, when we've stopped moving and the medals are around our necks.

Pictures taken during the race, well, I think they tend to sometimes come out a bit weird. Hopefully anyone who's been in a race has some photos of them running that they really like, but chances are that they've also got some like this:

(I didn't puke, I just looked like it.)

Since it's an action shot, the photographer (in the case above, my wife) is invariably going to catch me in mid-stride with my eyes closed, some other goofy expression on my face, or sometimes just looking like I'm going to die.

(Apparently, I always cross the finish line with my eyes closed?)

(Nevermind the weird facial expression.
What am I doing with my hands? Juggling?
Holding an invisible fruit basket?)

At least this one is pretty good -- I am so fast that I appear blurry!

These were the funniest ones I could find. There were probably worse ones, taken at the Baltimore Running Festival in 2010, the 2010 Philly Half, and Broad Street, but I didn't buy the photos from those races because the majority of them were strange looking or because I was behind people taller than me (which is everyone).

Then I got the pictures from the 2011 Philly Marathon. It was not my best race by any means, but the pictures generally came out ok. When I saw a photographer, I tried to make sure I was making a normal expression and not a grimace of pain. But I can't for the life of me figure out what I'm doing here:

(I guess I decided to zombie walk across the finish? "Brains...brains...brains!!")

At any rate, I know I can't be the only one this happens to -- in fact, I know I'm not! Adam at the "The Boring Runner" chronicled his Rock & Roll Arizona Marathon by noting how the pictures chronologically got a little more...awkward as he progressed through the race. (If you're not subscribed to his blog, you should be!)

Speed doesn't matter...if you get your picture taken while running, some of them are going to come out funny! Readers, I suspect you have some great race photos, but you probably have some bad ones, too, and I'd like you to share them in the First Annual Earn Your Donuts Bad Race Photo Contest.

This isn't just a chance to make fun of yourself for your own and other people's amusement, this is a chance to win fabulous prizes!

First prize is a $35 online gift certificate for Road ID, more than enough to buy any of the Road ID product models. I'm not one to lecture people about their choice of gear, but I'm going to lecture you now...this is an important! Bad things can happen out there, and a Road ID or similar piece of gear can help first responders quickly identify you and get in touch with your emergency contacts. There's similar products out there, but I can personally vouch for the quality of the Road ID Wrist ID Sport! If you've already got one for yourself, they make great gifts! If you're a fan of them on Facebook, have seen their advertisements, or have ordered products from them, it seems like a company with a good sense of humor and they very generously agreed to sponsor this contest.

(Wrist ID Sport photo from

Second prize is a $10.00 gift card to Dunkin Donuts. This is primarily a donut blog, after all.

So, let the First Annual Earn Your Donuts Bad Race Photo Contest (Brought to you by Road ID) begin! I look forward to your participation!

1. To enter, please send me the photo of yourself that you'd like to enter by Monday, Feb 27. That's two weeks to scour your hard drives. You can e-mail the photo or a link to it to me at, or you can post a link to it in the comments. Your photo will be posted on the blog, but no one's full name will be used (I'll use your first name only, your blogger nickname if you have one, or something else that you specify.)

2. It has to be a photo of yourself!

3. It doesn't matter if it's a professional photo or not, as long as it's during a race.

4. This is all in good fun. I think that everyone that's had race photos taken has probably been caught in a goofy pose. We're making fun of that and in doing so poking fun at ourselves, NOT commenting negatively on peoples' appearances. Any comments that I think are mean-spirited are going to get deleted faster than Usain Bolt runs 200m.

5. After 2/27, I will post all entrants and voting will take place either through blog comments or an online survey. (I reserve the right to choose or one or the other voting based on number of entries and how much free time I have!)

6. Make sure I have a way to contact you through your blog or e-mail. You wouldn't want to miss out on prizes! I won't spam you, I promise!

7. Update -- If you want to send in a good race photo with your bad one for comparison, as suggested in the comments, you're welcome to do so and I will post them together. You don't have to, though. For example, I think "zombie walk" and "invisible fruit basket" stand pretty well by themselves.


  1. oh my goodness. with all of my costumes (and some costume malfunctions)and whatnot, i could so win this. i'll play fair though and refrain.

  2. The palms up shrug is a move brought to the masses by most NBA'ers (not sure about who originated, but MJ has several similar poses). I interpret it to mean "I know I'm good, but was I that good? Could someone please tell me how bad-ass I am?" I totally think you are allowed to use it at the end of a race.

    So submissions for the contest should be along the lines of a goofy race pic? I suppose it would be helpful to also submit a normal race pic, so that the judges can really ascertain the true mortification, right?

  3. Jordan in the '92 NBA Finals vs. Portand is the famous one (I couldn't recall if it was vs. Portland or Phoenix the next year)

    I loved watching MJ, but trying to emulate him rather than just focusing on being a decent point guard probably shortened my basketball career by a few years.

    As for the contest, you don't have to send a normal photo, but you're welcome to do so if you think it will help you win. If you'd like to do so, I'll post it with your bad photo in the eventual voting thread.

    Also, if people who submit entries want to send in their favorite good race photo, I think that might be a fun entry to show the same peoples' favorites, but that would have no bearing on the contest.

  4. Hilarious!! I love the contest.

    Honestly, I think that you might give me a run for my money w/ the horrible pictures :)

  5. Here's the link to my official entry. First entry guarantees the win, right?

  6. I think you must've seen some chick with huge ... grapefruits. That's what the 'fruit basket' photo looks like to me :)

    I'm including a link here, my photos showing why one should NOT go out too fast in a marathon...before and after the boom is lowered...

    I don't know how Danny does the fancy linking so I just copy/pasted the url :)

  7. Since I don't run, can I just send in a picture of myself looking stupid? I'm quite positive there are thousands of those. Seriously.