The Most Amazing Finisher’s Photo Ever

One thing that is pretty common with most triathlons (and for that matter most running races) is that there’s a photographer snapping pictures as athletes cross the finish line.

Sometimes the image is one of joy that the day is done.  Occasionally, you’ll get a picture that shows grit and determination.  Every now and again, you’ll get one where the athlete looks like they are in extreme pain (like my finisher’s photo from the 2011 Rev3 Knoxville):

And then, every now and again the picture captures the realness and essence of life.  Sometimes the image shows not just that an athlete finished a race but why he did.

The picture below was taken as Andrew Picek from Ohio was running down the finisher’s chute at this past weekend’s Half Rev at Rev3 Cedar Point.  Now, I don’t know Mr. Picek from Adam’s housecat, and I don’t know his story at all, but I absolutely love the look on his face as he carries his infant child across the finish line.

Credit: Rev3

This picture sums up why so many athletes run.  Or Tri.  They do it not only for themselves, but often for others in their life.  So many times we see athletes pick up running or triathlon as a means to lose weight or bring down cholesterol or to help prevent heart disease.  They exercise to add longevity to their life.  In some cases, they exercise so that they’ll live long enough for their kids to remember them.  I have no idea if any of the things I just laid out apply to Mr. Picek.  They might.  They might not.  Every person, though, has a story about what got them to the finish line of their race.

In my mind this young baby has a cool story too….how he/she crossed the finish line of a pretty cool race with their daddy.

Edit (8:28am):  I received a tweet from one of my Rev3 teammates not long after posting this that the child in this picture was 11 days old when Andrew crossed the finish line.  That raises the coolness factor behind this picture to EPIC values in my mind!

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5 thoughts on “The Most Amazing Finisher’s Photo Ever

  1. I’m very touched to see this photo finding its way to so many different places. Thank you for your comments.

    A little correction for you: Lena Elaine was born August 7, 2012. Her due date was August 24, so she was a little early. She was small (6 lbs, 7 oz), but perfectly healthy. She had a little trouble gaining weight early on, but she’s now packing on the pounds nicely. She might be up over 8 lbs by now, but still smaller than many newborns.

    I almost didn’t do this race for a number of reasons, but I am very glad that I did. I was looking for Lena and my wife as I worked my way through the finish chute, and I was surprised by how overwhelmed I was with emotion when I saw them and picked Lena up. You don’t realize how much you are going to love your child until you meet them. It brought back a lot of the same feelings I had the moment she was born. The race itself was far from my best, and I probably could have performed better that day, but that moment at the finish line made the whole 7.5 hours worthwhile.

    If anyone cares, here’s a little more info about me:

    I almost didn’t do this race. I’ve been racing triathlons since 2010. I was a competitive swimmer growing up, but quit when I went to college in order to “study.” Turns out all I did was get fat. In 2010 my sister dared me to run a 5k, so I did. I then moved on to triathlon, and lost a good deal of weight in 2010 and 2011. In late 2011, after running the Air Force Half Marathon in September, I started to have some foot injury issues and didn’t run as much as I had been. A number of my teammates from the local tri club were signing up for this race, so I decided to go ahead and do it anyway. When I signed up for the race, we already knew we would likely be having our first child sometime in August 2012, but figured we would make it work somehow. I had a rough training patch from pretty much October 2011 until this race. I put some weight back on, I hardly ran, and the coming baby didn’t help with being able to get anything done. After she was born, I decided with my lack of preparation for the race I was better off not going. I e-mailed Rev3 and asked to defer and they said it was too late. Then my sister came to visit 2 weeks ago and talked me into do it. I’ve already completed 2 other half distance triathlons, both of which were much more difficult courses than this (Poconos 70.3, 2011 and Little Smokies Triathlon, 2012). I figured if I needed to, I could walk the entire half marathon, but at least I wouldn’t be throwing away the entry fee. My wife was thrilled to get a little vacation after a month of being able to sleep only 2-3 hours at a time.

    • Andrew, congratulations on the birth of your beautiful girl, Lena! Thank you for sharing your story, and for making us all remember how great it feels to be in love with our children!

  2. What an amazing photo! Congrats on finishing with the newest member of your beautiful family, Andrew!

  3. Congrats Andrew. I was excited to see this picture of you and Lena. It is priceless, just like she is. Enjoy her everyday, they grow up fast.

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