Friday, February 28, 2014


At the Fudgcicle 5K in Tewksbury, MA (February 22, 2014)

Winter cold and black ice won't keep 
runners away from a favorite local race. 

Here's one runner--practically floating
as she sprints to the finish line! 

(I had just run the race; then jogged back 
from the finish line to cheer for other runners
 and photograph them as they came in.)

Woman running gacefully--floating just above the street--at a 5K race in winter, in New England

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Two happy runners, smiling and laughing as they run the Fudgcicle 5K in Tewksbury, MA.
At the Fudgcicle 5K in Tewksbury, MA (February 22, 2014)

Some runners are single-minded, focusing on their pace,
heart rate and distance to the exclusion of all else.

Not these two runners!

They are clearly enjoying each other's company
as they tear down the road at a blistering pace.

They were just behind me when I took this photo.

(Yes, I was running.  Didn't stop or slow my pace.
After all--I was in a race!)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Running on the beach!  This runner FLYING over sand and snow at the Frosty Knuckle 5K in Salisbury, MA.
At the Frosty Knuckle 5K in Salisbury, MA (February 22, 2014)

Most races are one thing: you run on a road 
from the start line to the finish.

Or perhaps you run the whole race on a trail.

But the Frosty Knuckle 5K is a delightful combination:

2 miles on the road...
and then a little over a mile on the beach.

Yup.  A beach run...in February!

This runner is flying over the sand and snow 
as he leaps onto the beach.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Four runners at a winter race, backlit by the early morning sun--running as they chase their shadows.
At the Fudgcicle 5K in Tewksbury, MA (February 22, 2014)

Backlit by the early morning sun, 
four runners chase their long shadows
on the glistening road.

These runners were just behind me for more than a mile.

(Yes, I was running as I took this photo.
Didn't stop or slow my pace.  After all--I was in a race!)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Runners BURSTING from the start line at the Fudgiclce 5K in Tewksbury, MA.  Sports Photography from Inside the Pack by Ken Skier, the Running Photographer.
At the Fudgcicle 5K in Tewksbury, MA (February 22, 2014)

Cold temps and treacherous black ice
won't stop THESE runners!

(They were just behind me when I took this photo.
Yes, I was running.  Didn't stop or slow my pace.
After all--I was in a race!)


Friday, February 21, 2014

At the Boston Barefoot Running Festival 5K  (September 14, 2013)

It's still February as I post this.

Giant snowbanks line every street, road,
and driveway here in New England.

Winter is fine.
But enough is enough!

So I thought I'd transport us back to a warmer time!

Here's a short video I shot 
at the 2013 Boston Barefoot Running Festival.

Barefoot running on a Summer Day!

Hope you enjoy it.

(Oh.  I know it's hard to tell from the slow-motion video,
but this runner is moving at a flat 7-minute pace here.)

At the Boston Barefoot Running Festival 5K  (September 14, 2013)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

At the Love Em or Leave Em 5K in Malden, MA (February 15, 2014)

Some runners are intense--
rocketing like a cruise missile!
--and never glancing left or right.

Others seem to float like a butterfly...
enjoying every new view on the course...
acknowledging every cheer with a wave and a smile.

I had just finished running the race and jogged back
from the finish line to cheer for incoming runners.

This runner floated past me like a butterfly--
without her feet ever touching the street.

I cheered as she approached and
she replied with a big wave and a smile.

Go-ooo, Runner 92!



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

At the Love em or Leave em 5K in Malden, MA (February 15, 2014)

This will warm your heart!

A happy Mom--running with her son 
at a Valentine's Day race.

See the big heart pinned to his shirt?
It says "I Love Mom"

And as you can see in this photo:



...she's got a big heart pinned to her shirt,
saying "I Love my Son"!

I took these photos as I was running.
These two were just behind me.

(Yes, I was running.
Didn't stop or slow my pace.
After all--I was in a race!)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

At the Love em or Leave em 5K in Malden, MA (February 15, 2014)

What better way to celebrate Valentines Day
than to romp down the road 
with your sweetheart or friend?

These two runners were just behind me
 when I took this photo.

(Yes, I was running.  
Didn't stop or slow my pace.
After all--I was in a race!)

Monday, February 17, 2014

At the Love em or Leave em 5K in Malden, MA (February 15, 2014)

I love this moment!

The starter has just completed a countdown--
(with all of us runners chanting along)
--and then a blast from his horn set us free.

These two runners in red have just crossed 
the start line (that black-and-red timing mat.)

Now we RUN!!!

(These runners were just behind me when I took the photo.
Yes, I was running, too.  I did not stop or slow my pace.
After all, I was in a race!)

Friday, February 14, 2014


Ideally, every photo is terrific the moment the light hits the sensor in your camera.

But we know that is rarely the case!

In a studio, you might shoot

and re-shoot until you're satisfied.

But you can't do that at a sporting event!


(Nor can you ask the people at a family gathering

or street scene to "hold still" while you shoot
over and over until everything is right.)

Most of the time, everything will not be right!


So what can you do?


I have two rules:

1)  Position yourself so the light will be
right when it hits your subject.

2)  Shoot lots of pictures!  This makes it

likely that some will be very good.

But what if you only have one photo of a particular

moment or subject--and that photo is marred?

Can you salvage that photo?


Often, the answer is yes.


Here's how I turned an unusable photo into one

that's pretty good.  Not great--but "good enough."

Here's the original photo:



I thought it had potential.  The runner is fully visible
and he's airborne--with both feet off the street.

That's always good in a photo of a runner!

But your eye is not drawn to the runner.
Instead, your eye is drawn to that spectator, walking
directly in front of the camera, with her back to us.

She doesn't add anything to the picture!

So let's subtract her:



Good!
We didn't need her in the picture.

(How did I remove her?  I had another
 photo of the street, with no one on it.  
 I just copied part of that empty street
and pasted it onto the original photo.)

But your eye is still not drawn to the runner!
That house in the background 
seems to be the subject.

So let's crop the photo,
to make the runner more prominent:



Much better!

 But I find the runner's singlet and face are too dark.
Let's lighten them, and enhance the overall contrast:


Okay!  Now (for my purposes) 
this photo is good enough!

What did we do?

1)  We removed distractions.
2)  We cropped to make the subject more prominent.
3)  We adjusted shadows, highlights, and contrast.

Pretty simple.  But very effective!


What is more graceful than a barefoot runner...
somehow floating on a summer day?

TWO barefoot runners!

I just love to watch them run.

(The only thing I love more is to
run barefoot, myself--
as I did at this race.)

By the way, these two runners
are not only graceful: they are FAST!

(They covered the 5K course in 19:04 and 19:22:
a pace of  6:08 and 6:14, respectively.)

Ahhh....summer!

At the 2013 Boston Barefoot Running Festival (September 14, 2013)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

This Somerville Road Runner--and USATFNE Mountain Goat--is the winner!

THANK YOU!

Many of you participated in the first-ever contest
held on the Run with Ken website.  

But there can only be one winner.

Congratulations, Emer!

(Emer won--but I feel like the lucky one:
because now I won't have to run alone
 at this Valentine's-themed race.)

Emer will be my teammate at the
Love em or Leave em 5K & Lager Fest
this Saturday (February 15) in Malden, MA.

This is a race for couples.  Maybe romantic couples...
perhaps platonic...or family...or friends from work.

Doesn't matter!
Any team of two is okay!

You and your teammate run the race.

Stay together if you like--or each of you
can run at your own pace, if you prefer.

After the race, we'll all enjoy some
great refreshment.  (Including beer
and wine for those of us over 21.)

I hope to see you there!

I'll be running with my camera, and
will do my best to take and publish some
dramatic action photos "from inside the pack."

You can still register online!

(Only $30 for a team of two,
or $25 if you prefer to run alone.)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

At the Bill Rodgers Valentines 5K in Acton, MA (February 9, 2014)

How often do you see this?

Two runners side by side--
with all four feet in the air!
--as they sprint to the finish line.

I love moments like this!

(I had just completed the race myself, 
and jogged back from the finish line 
to cheer for the other runners.

I was lucky enough to snap this photo 
as these two women FLEW by!)

Monday, February 10, 2014

At the Bill Rodgers Valentines 5K in Acton, MA (February 9, 2014)

Don't you love this guy?
Boston Billy!

Yes!  This is Bill Rodgers--
4-time winner of the Boston Marathon!
--running to the finish line at 5K race near Boston.

Bill Rodgers has done more for the sport of running
than anyone you or I can name.

And he still brings his deep and genuine enthusiasm
to this little race in a small town, to benefit a local theater.

Run, Bill! 
Run!!!!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

At Marx Running (a running store) in Acton, MA

There is no greater ambassador for the 
sport of running than Bill Rodgers:

Boston Billy!  

The legendary athlete who won the Boston Marathon four times...
inspiring the world's best runners for decades.

But Bill Rodgers is more than a legend.

He's a big-hearted, warm guy who loves running, and runners, 
and is genuinely interested in the odd paths
 that have drawn so many of us to this sport.


In 2007 I had the great pleasure of chatting with Bill 
before I ran my first Boston...

...a pleasure I enjoyed again last year when 
we chatted at a running store in Acton, MA.  


But tomorrow I'll do something even better!

I will RUN with Bill.

Yes!  I will join other runners at the
2014 Bill Rodgers Theatre III Valentine Road Race 5k.

The race starts at 11 AM in Acton, MA--
a scenic town about 40 minutes west of Boston.

Boston Billy will pin on a bib number 
and run this 5K with all the rest of us.

What a thrill!

Tomorrow the weather will be ideal.  

I'll be there.  
A whole lot of other runners will be there.  
And we'll all get to run with BILL RODGERS!!!

For more about the race, see the race web site.

Hope to see you there!




At the Super 5K in Lowell, MA (February 2, 2014)

For 3.1 miles this runner ran as fast as he could--
but that baby was always one step ahead of him!

A born runner!

Friday, February 7, 2014


Every day I run alone.
Usually in the faint light before dawn:

A solitary shadow...
gliding silently over the hills near my home.

I love the peace and solitude of these predawn runs.
They bring me closer to the sky.

The moon is my friend
and the stars are my guide.


But on weekends I leap like a spawning salmon 
into the energy and life of a RACE!

 A river of runners!
Clad in all colors!

We flow over the hills and flood the streets!

We run together for a few brief miles,
and form friendships that last for years!

After the race we raise a glass to one another
and all is right with the world.


But on February 15, I need YOUR help!

There's a new race!

I want to run it:

It's a 5K race in Malden, MA.

(5K is 3.1 miles.
If you haven't yet pinned on a bib number, 
this business of "K" might be hard to translate.)

After the race, if you are 21 or older,
 you can enjoy some excellent beer...
...or wine if you prefer.

Gotta rehydrate!

But here's my problem.

The Love Em or Leave Em Run is designed for couples.
Maybe romantic couples.  
Maybe friends, family, or neighbors.

Doesn't matter what kind of couple you might be.

But the whole theme is Teams of TWO!

Teammates might run together.
Or each of you might run at your own pace.

Doesn't matter.  You're a team.
Your finish times will be added together to get a team score.

Which brings me to the point of this blog post:

    Will YOU be my teammate?   

I will pick one teammate from the people who
enter the following quiz, and submit the correct answer.

That's right: 
one of you will get to run this race for FREE!

You don't have to run with me.
But I will do my best to get a photo of YOU as you run.

The quiz closes at 11:59 pm tonight. (Feb 7, 2014)
If you enter more than once, 
I will only consider your final entry.


                         Hint:                         
   The Love Em or Leave Em Run   
is on Feb 15: one day after Feb 14.


Okay.  Here's the quiz.
Please submit your answer in a comment below.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

"Run With Ken" has never run WHAT kind of race:

1)  Mt. Washington Road Race

2)  Boston Marathon

3)  5K Open Water Swim

4)  Olympic-distance Triathlon

5)  Halloween-themed race

6)  Valentines-day-themed race

-----------------------------------------------------------------------




I will pick one winner, from the correct entries 
received by 11:59 pm  EST on Friday, February 7.

(I will pick one winning entry from the comments to this blog,
merged with the submissions on Facebook and on Twitter.)

Good luck!

(P.S.  The winner won't have to run with me.

Maybe you're faster than I am.
Maybe I'm faster than you.

Just run as fast as you can!
I'll run as fast as I can.

At the the end, our finish times will be
totaled to give us a team score.

Then we'll raise a beverage together,
to salute our run!)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Low-Impact ("Barefoot-style") running on the day after a snowstorm 
in Lexington, MA (February 6, 2014)

I'm a barefoot runner.  
(I've run nearly 100 races barefoot--
and by that, I mean naked feet on the street.)

But in winter I usually wear shoes.

Even when shod, however (in this case,
 in Saucony Hattoria very flexible, minimalist shoe)
I run with a "barefoot running style":

Landing on the forefoot.
Upright.
Light.
Low-impact.

I am not urging you to run barefoot...
or in minimalist shoes.

Run in whatever works for you!

But this style of running is easy on my knee,
and it works for me.

See you on the road!




Wednesday, February 5, 2014

At the Super 5K in Lowell, MA (February 2, 2014)

What is more exciting that than two runners side by side--
giving their all as they FLY to the finish line?

I had just run the Super 5K and jogged back to cheer
for the other runners as they came in.

These two runners came flying at me--
I barely snapped this picture--
and a heartbeat later they were gone!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

At the Super 5K in Lowell, MA (February 2, 2014)

What is more special than your first race?

I still remember the first time I ever pinned on a bib number

and ran with sixty new friends to the finish line clock.

That was nine years ago.

Since then, I've run hundreds of races--
and I get the same thrill every time.

The only thing sweeter is to see a runner
experience that thrill for the first time.

As you can see in this short video,
this runner is almost dancing--

her joy lifting her off the pavement 
as she floats to the finish line clock!

What a thrill to see her finish her first race!

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