From the eyes of the Intern: Sam Winnie
The Jpixx team headed out at dawn on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th to cover the Yuengling Shamrock races put on by J&A Racing at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. Day one was jam-packed with finish-line victories, Gatorade, and loads of PRs (personal records)! By the last race, the next day, everyone was feeling accomplished and relieved that all their hard work paid off. Let me tell you, being able to cover the races was beyond inspirational. The people, the families, the volunteers- just everyone brought the community together for nothing, but awesomeness and fun! After all the racers had finished, after all the shenanigans at the party tent, and after seeing all the pure smiles of accomplishment- I think running an 8K next year may be in consideration. The atmosphere of the Shamrock Marathon and other races were just too overwhelming to ignore, and I want to be a part of it.
It all started with a flawless, yet chilly, sunrise… We started unpacking our gear at base, near the Neptune statue. We caught the final glimpses of the sun peeking over the horizon as we set up our microphone and video cameras. After the sun had finally risen and we were geared up, we headed to the parking garage roof! Wow, was it cold up there- but the view was immaculate. Right above the start line, we sent our Mavic Pro drone up, catching the beginning action of the races- first up 8K! The first corral, Team Hoyt, took off setting the pace. Many, and I mean MANY, corrals took off one by one after the first, running like champs. We followed the racers via drone, seeing all their shadows form figures as the sunrise finished, bringing warmth to VB.
About an hour or so into the race, the first runners came trickling into the finish line. They were from here, there, near, and far. I remember hearing places like New York, California, Florida… It was pretty surreal to see all these people from across the country come to little ol’ VB to complete these races- heck, and many even ran MULTIPLE races. We walked with some of the finishers as they grabbed snacks, Gatorade, and water from J&A’s amazing volunteers. The volunteers throughout the whole weekend were kind, supportive, and selfless for being out there in the cold- supporting the racing community.
After capping off some interviews and running kiss-cam (on Instagram) at the finish line, we jotted off to cover the kiddo events like The Final Mile & Leprechaun Run. The kids and chaperones did amazing finishing the final mile of their marathon, all together, in great spirits. The little kids at the Leprechaun Run, toddler status, were so much fun to watch as the tiniest ones weeble-wobbled across the finish line. The older the kids got, the more they ran in straight lines, rather than zig zags. It was the perfect event to finish coverage at the races (of course after more interviews). With the conclusion of the races on day one, people in masses headed to the party tent! The music was bumping, beer flowing, and good times were had. Crazy to think some of these people would get up at dawn AGAIN the next day to race either the Half Marathon or Marathon!?
On day two, the sun thankfully peaked over the horizon yet again, proving the weather overall was much better than last year’s. Again, our team unpacked all of our gear, set up, and started our coverage for the day, beginning at the start from the new Cavalier Hotel (a classic VB landmark). The runners started to reach the Neptune statue at around 9 or 10 AM – starting with the Half Marathon runners. Crowds had gathered on the sides of the boardwalk to cheer “go runner, let’s go runner!” as each individual passed. As the runners reached these support crowds, you could see their demeanor change from tired, to inspired- they pushed harder by picking up their pace. It was awesome to see so many cross that finish line. With all the MoVi shots from Will and Chandler, the drone footage from Jon, and my own social media coverage- the crew had captured it all. The highs, the lows, triumphs, and some of the most inspirational stories.
We headed to the party tent, one last time. All the runners slowly made their way in, stopping for beer and tasty Irish food. We walked through the crowds, mic in hand, looking for those who we could interview. This was one of the most humbling attributes of the weekend, for the stories we heard ranged from serious and proud, to funny and lighthearted. We talked to people who ran simply because they had never ran like this before. We talked to people who ran for beer or because their significant others told them too (definitely worth a chuckle). We talked to people who ran to reach goals, like 50 marathons in ONE YEAR… Yeah, insane. But, we also talked to people who ran for their life, their family, to beat down cancer, and to thrive as healthy individuals. We loved hearing why people run, and I am sure J&A loved hearing their own racers’ responses.
After all interviewing had finished and all filming had stopped, we could pack up- drone, cameras, mic, and all. The Jpixx crew had walked/ran so much that I even ended up with shin splints, but it was SO worth it. The amount of amazing footage we captured, the community, and all the amazing people we met made every bit of hard work melt away into relief and happiness. We couldn’t have asked for a better Shamrock weekend, well except maybe a tad bit warmer- overall it was beyond memorable.
AND THAT’S NOT ALL! Within 24 hours – Jpixx was able to turn around the highlight edit, thanks mostly to our tireless rock star editor Maria. Check out J&A’s latest addition to the “Why I Run” campaign, Shamrock edition on Facebook.
We had a blast filming and are proud to share with you how everyone #ShamrockOn #IRunFor
Thank you to all racers, crowd, family, volunteers, and the people at J&A for putting on amazing weekend!!! Cannot wait until Shamrock 2019, who knows, maybe you all can catch me crossing the finish line…
Thank you so much my dear old college roommate Mac Call for all your help Shamrock Weekend, ILY!