Over the past year or two as I’ve ran for pleasure with the Glasgow-based Bellahouston Harriers club, I’ve been photographing the running club meets, the training, some portraits, made a little movie of track nights in winter…basically merging my two loves, that of running and photography, and giving back to the club along the way with photography.
Very nicely an edit of this work has now been made into book form by the club, and has finally been printed for the club members and a few extra copies. The book, ‘Nil Desperandum’, documents the runners in the 125th year of the historic Glasgow club, and includes quotes by the club runners on why they run, what it brings them and why they run with the club. A little snapshot of running club life.
During my recent photography assignment through 40 countries of the Commonwealth for with the Queen’s Baton Relay for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, the running club published on their site a little profile of myself and how my running fits in with my work. Stuart Miller, the author of the profile has given me permission to reprint it below.
From Bellahouston Harriers website. –
The opening ceremony in the Gold Coast on Wednesday will signal the start of competition for some of the world’s top athletes, but it will mark the end of remarkable Commonwealth Games journey for one Bellahouston Harrier.
Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert has spent much of the past year travelling the world, documenting the Queen’s Baton Relay for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. As one of the official Baton Relay photographers, Jeremy has captured images of the Baton’s passage across the Commonwealth, through major cities like Lagos and Auckland, remote areas of the South Sea Islands, and tribal communities in Africa.
Jeremy often spends weeks or months away from home at any one time. He has spent the last three months following the baton across Australia as part of the final 100 days countdown to the Games – when the baton is opened and the Queen’s message inside is read out by Prince Charles at the opening ceremony, it will signify the start of the 21st edition of the Games.
“My job as photo journalist is to document the passage of the Queen’s Baton Relay – this is the largest relay in the history of the Games, spanning 388 days, and covering 230,000 kilometres,” Jeremy said. “My days are full-on taking stills and shooting video, before editing the images and sending them to the Gold Coast media team for distribution to media around the world, and upload onto the official Games social media accounts.”
Jeremy said that his average day following the baton will start at 7am. He’ll track runners carrying the baton for miles on end through the countryside on some legs, while on others the baton will be passed from person to person every few hundred metres.
He described visits to schools, where the baton is carried around sports fields by pupils, and the showcasing of the baton at tourist hotspots. Top athletes will often carry the baton, and Jeremy recalled capturing David Rudisha and Lynsey Sharp in action, while he will also follow the baton on visits to local TV stations and to evening receptions hosted by the Australian High Commissioner or Governor General. Typically, at the end of the day, Jeremy will edit between 800 and 1,000 photos to select the best 20 to send back to Australia.
Despite long days working, and plenty of travelling, Jeremy has managed to find time for running in his hectic schedule.
“You make the most of free time when you get it,” he said. “If we have a later start such as 9am I can get out a run before work. On the Africa leg of my trip early in 2017 one of my colleagues was very into keeping fit and he and I set ourselves a challenge of doing a run in each country outside of the hotel grounds – I tried to keep that going through the whole year. In the end I think I managed to run in about 35 of the 40 countries I visited.”
“It was a great challenge to do because it plays into my love for travel and adventure. I combine running with photography. I love getting up and out while the light is really beautiful. You get to see a different side to where we are staying and it is great to look back and say ‘I had a good run there’, even if I manage out for only 5k. Photography is a young man’s game. I know running keeps me healthy and sharp and that is a big thing for me,” he said.
Of all the runs he has done while away, and all the places he has been, there are a couple of particular highlights.
Jeremy said: “Last December, in Vanuatu, the schedule that week was not quite as intense so I got out running four times. The hotel was next to a lagoon. I went out very early in the morning because of the heat. One morning I went out at 5am and I found myself running in a place that was so lush and beautiful. The environment was so beautiful I found myself laughing out loud. I was thinking to myself how lucky I was to be there, have the health to run, and how happy I was.”
“During the Africa leg we visited Iten in Kenya, the home of great distance running. We did not have a lot of time there, but a colleague and I wanted to squeeze a quick run in to say we ran in Iten so we ran up to under where the iconic sign of ‘Welcome to Iten Home of Champions’ stands. It was really pleasing to be there and see the town, and a nice little moment,” he said.
Jeremy’s links to the Commonwealth Games began back in 2012 when he successfully tendered for one of the photographer jobs for the Queen’s Baton Relay for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. However, his love of running developed before then while he was living in Japan and training for the Tokyo marathon. It was during a rare trip back home that Jeremy’s association with Bellahouston Harriers began.
“I chose Bellahouston Harriers because I saw the distinctive vest,” Jeremy said. “I saw someone wearing the vest at Parkrun and I thought ‘wow that just looks amazing’. I came down to the club for a few weeks and really enjoyed mixing with like-minded people.”
After returning permanently from Japan, Jeremy joined the club in October 2016. His love of the club vest led him to organise a photo shoot for members where they had the opportunity to have portraits taken in their vests.
“I have been a professional photographer for 28 years and I am a believer in doing personal jobs,” Jeremy said. “It helps you to keep sharp and polish up aspects of your work that you need to work on. I wanted to portray the cross section of the people who run for the club and ‘run for the vest’, from the fast guys to the slower members.”
During his time as member, Jeremy has also beautifully documented the club’s 125 year anniversary celebrations and captured the atmosphere at a winter track session. He harbours longer term ambitions in movie-making.
“I am trying to write screenplay for a movie,” Jeremy said. “It will be set on a boat in the North Sea and was inspired years ago by the time I spent photographing on fishing trawlers. I am excited by the imagery I could put to it.”