The Hackney Half Marathon / by Simon Mooney

The banner hung on a fence in the local park caught my eye: 'Hackney Festival of Fitness'.

I love taking pictures of people running around London, it appeals to both the sports and the street photographer in me. This event was sponsored by Virgin Sport - which I hadn't heard of before - and based on the Hackney Half marathon.

Flora asked me to shoot the London one a few years ago and trying to get around that route was a real problem. I learned from the experience and, for this one, maximised my shooting time by staying close to the start/finish line on Hackney Marshes.

On the day, I set off at 7am to walk the four miles to the location through the streets of north London, hoping to get pictures of runners on their way. After only ten minutes, I got two quick frames of a runner warming up through the railings of a Stoke Newington churchyard. It felt like a good start.

Once I arrived, hi-visibilty official photographers were everywhere so I wandered around and tried to take up positions that would give me a different perspective.

I mainly used a 600mm lens which allowed me to really pick out individuals from the field of thousands. The light was very special at times (which is half the job) and this, together with the atmosphere, made it a good day for pictures.