Aphrodisiac Marathon in Clarinbridge 2016

Clarenbridge Woods.jpg

This feels right, I think, as I make my way towards Clarinbridge’s inaugral Oyster Marathon event which consists of a 10km, a half-marathon, and a full marathon. Unlike other events I’ve photographed, joy and excitement are the only things I feel at the start of today’s efforts to capture the movement. (Photos of the event are here).

The movement is an encapsulation of the sun’s energy and it is relentless; it is required and necessary to complete nature’s natural cycle.

A wild animal is so relentless in its desire to keep moving that, if caught in a snare, it will tear off its own leg to ensure that movement is maintained. Movement is life. Movement is energy.

There are no excuses for not moving. When photographing triathlons I have spotted several competitors who had one arm missing, and one of Ireland’s most notable marathon participants is in a wheelchair. Anyone who has run any amount of marathon events in Ireland will have spotted him at some point and I see him today at Clarinbridge’s inaugural Oyster Marathon.

“You must do every marathon in the country,” I say.

“If I can find them,” he laughs.

Clarenbridge Oyster Marathon Galway.jpg

Along the way I accidentally photograph a man who I realise is not a participant and to be sure I ask, “You’re not in the race, are you?”

“No. I’m 90 years old and I’m out for my walk,” he proudly explains, “and look here I’m missing an eye,” he says, pointing to the place where there used to be a working eye without even the vaguest hint of self-pity, but pointing it out as a matter of pride and, to me, he has reason to be proud for he is a living example of relentless movement.


The Clarinbridge distances are a series of 5km loops around a forest park and the idea of a looped course almost put me off coming here as I much rather, when running and taking photos, to just do one big loop as too many loops can make one go loopy and such loopiness has surely to be where the word originates. But since each distance is a series of consecutive loops it takes the pressure off trying to photograph everyone as I’ll doubtless capture all at least once and this affords me the opportunity to get a bit experimental with my photos. Additionally, the loop is incredibly lovely and goes along paths and through forest glades and I can’t believe I’ve lived in Galway all my life without knowing this place even existed. In short, as looped courses go, this one is rather pleasing and I shall definitely be back here again with some combination of my kid, my camera, and my dog.

After three hours of taking photos non-stop I reluctantly decide to call it a day since I figure I’ve captured every single person several times with at least one good photo.

My last capture of the day is a fine looking cow and it occurs to me that the word cow is often used as an insult which is really quite bizarre since cows are rather lovely creatures. However, perhaps it is the intention of its use or the addition of adjectives like silly or stupid that make it an insult.


Many find my cow branding to be quite ridiculous and have openly laughed in my face but I think it is quite beautiful, philosophical, and I may even go as far as to say sacred. Let’s face it – over one billion Hindus can’t be wrong, can they?

For today, the work of the BBC (Big Beautiful Cow) is complete.


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