Sunday, September 25, 2011

Savage Race Debut

Original savage, Mark Parry in Homestead, Florida became the face of Savage Race

Some of you may remember the entry a few months back about the promotional shoot I did for Savage Race and Map Cap Events. Using those photos of my friends from the mud pits of Homestead, Florida the Savage Race crew was able to promote their event in all different types of media and in less than four months attract over 2,000 people for their debut on August 27th.  The day before the race I had a chance to walk the course and help put some finishing touches on the obstacles and mud pits. Sam Abbitt and Lloyd Parker (owners and managers of Savage Race) made sure the 5k was going to be brutal and live up to its slogan: "the race built to kick your ass." In fact, the property was an old sand mine and current ATV course on the outskirts of the Green Swamp, which I had just visited for Florida Forever a few months back. While setting up I saw a few cottonmouths slither across the trail and had to laugh. The 2,000 plus people carb-loading on Friday night had no idea what they had in store.

On the morning of race, it was funny to see the images of my muddy friends from Homestead plastered all over banners, t-shirts, and even water bottles. The crowds slowly trickled in as the first wave commenced at 9:00 AM. There were already 6 photographers covering the race but they focused only on images where bib numbers and participants' faces were clearly showing. My assignment was to take images for promotional materials which requires a completely different style of photography. Luckily I had a four-wheeler and driver at my disposal so I was able to stay mobile throughout the day.

The trickiest part was just making sure my lens stayed clean with all the mud that was slung around. I took nearly 1,900 photos that day but here are a few favorites..

My uncle Larry Heaton in fine form

My cousin Matt Heaton flew down from Virginia to run the race

You know that I couldn't just sit there and watch everyone else have all the fun, so I jumped in the last wave at 12:00 and put my grit to the test. I had a slight advantage knowing all the pitfalls and obstacles of the course, but even then it was a brutal 3 miles. Halfway through my wave a massive lightning and rain storm swept through central Florida and I could barely see more than three feet in front of me. I finished in 39 minutes but wasn't able to attempt the swim because of the lightning. Unfortunately the rain also forced everyone home including the band, the vendors, and all the participants waiting to celebrate their mud run. I felt bad that the Savage Race crew didn't get a chance to see their event completely unfold, but during hurricane season these things are a little hard to predict. And besides, what's more savage than a lightning obstacle?

The next race is scheduled at the same location for sometime in February 2012. Check out their website and sign up. It definitely rocked me, but I'm ready for another serving. Please sir, may I have another?!


  1. This is on of my favorite races so far! Some how I was able to avoid every single camera at the Savage Race! The crisp photos show how great of a day this was until...... Tropical Storm Savage!!!!