All Out: A GVTC 5K
Updated: Jan 14
On December 18, 2020, runners from Good Vibes Track Club met up for a 5K time trial. After months of consistent training, and several races cancelled, the squad came together to support each other and put on this intimate event - embodying the word community.
I showed up to the meeting spot in the Arts District. We were close to Santa Fe st and the 4th St bridge. It was quiet and no other people were around, just cars parked along the street. I remembered this was the same spot that Take The Bridge took place. I met up with a few of the main members of the GVTC squad. Marvin, Coza, Jenay, and Knox. It was great to see them; we greeted each other and caught up for a bit. Marv was quick to fill me in on the route and what the plan was for the night. Two groups of runners taking off at different times in order to maximize social distance. I was excited to be there. It had been a while since I got to shoot anything reminiscent of a race. I felt eager to see how the night would unfold and to witness the squad rip through the streets, aiming for their fastest 5Ks.
As people began to show up, you could feel the tension fill the air. The quietude of the night in contrast with the sounds of steps going up and down the street. A few people were warming up and running around the area. Some were gathered together, simply catching up. Once everyone showed up, Marv called everyone together. He welcomed everybody and cut through the tense atmosphere, explaining what they all had been training for and how much work they'd been putting in these last few months. He passes the stage on to Knox who imparts some wisdom onto everyone and talks about how tonight he expects everyone to push past their limits. I try to focus my attention to what they're saying but the excitement inside me keeps me distracted. I take a few shots of everyone huddled together but spaced apart. A huge circle has formed in the center of this empty street. We look like a cult gathered together in this manner. People taking turns to talk and sharing their feelings about the moment. A cult of runners, coming togehter in rirtual format to celebrate one thing - running.
After the speeches are over, we move to the start line. I'm nervous for everyone. I'm also nervous for myself - worried that I won't capture the moment and do justice to everyone's efforts. The first group of runners are Haas, Louie, Priscilla, Brian, and Hector. They're lined up and as I'm scrambling to capture the start, the stop clock turns on. They take off and I run over to Edgar who is pacing the runners in his car. We follow the group up to the 4th St bridge, and as I pop my head out of the moon roof, I see Haas in the lead followed by Louie. It's all happening so quickly that I hardly have time to think. My camera fires before I even have a chance to compose the shot. I don't know what I'm shooting. I'm just trying to capture anything. We get to a location underneath the former 6th St bridge. The runners catch up to us quickly and again I hardly have time to think. I hardly have time to shoot any pictures before they all pass by. They're really pushing. Haas passes us, followed by Louie, Brian, Hector, and then Priscilla. I race back to the car trying to shoot from out of the passenger window, switching over to the moon roof and hoping to god I don't drop my camera. We head up the 7th St bridge and my grip tightens as the car speeds up. My body sways and my camera flash goes off. We come back to the start line which now becomes the finish line. We see Haas in the distance as he races down the street and towards us. A blur crosses the finish line, and my camera fires continuosly as the runners come in one after another. My heart is racing, I can barely breathe and before I know it the second group is getting ready to start
This group is made up of Jody, Remy, Israel, and Pablo. They're gathered by the start line, talking to Knox and Marv. I capture a few shots of them from a distance. Faint silhouettes, stretching and warming up. They all line up and I head over to Edgar. This time he is pacing the group leader so we have an easier time staying ahead of everyone. Just as before, we head up the 4th St bridge, and we can see how the gap between all the runners starts to widen on this early uphill. Pablo is in front, followed by Israel, Jody, and Remy. I can see the amount of effort they're exerting. Pained expressions on their faces as they're turning their feet over and over trying to maintain that max pace effort. We arrive once more to the underpass of the 6th St bridge but we don't stay too long in order to continue pacing the leader of the group. On the 7th St bridge I try and take some more shots of everyone cutting the turn onto Santa Fe St. As we're driving, Edgar offers me the chance to get off by the finish line to capture the runners crossing. I agree with him and get off. Waiting for the runners I can't help but remember LA Marathon weekend. It began on a night like this. A line up of events filled with so many people, that started on a Thursday night in this area. This time I'm standing with only a handful of people under very different circumstances. Regardless of the situation, I feel grateful to be here with these people who put so much effort into uplifting one another. The runners turn the corner and race down the street to the finish. The timer flashes every second that passes and one by one the runners finish.
Just like that the night is over. You can hear heavy breathing coming from every corner. You can feel the heat emanating from all around and as the exhaustion takes over everyone, we all begin to relax. It's truly vibrant- for one night, that race day feeling fills the air. The excitement of getting to see your friends cross a finish line is present and the post race camaraderies instill a sense of hope. Hope that we'll be doing this again soon.