Guest blogger Dana Mancuso on making a marathon course video.

Guest blogger Dana Mancuso on making a marathon course video.

The Starting Line welcomes guest blogger Dana Mancuso, marketing and public information coordinator for the Urbana Park District, and a runner who will be doing the Illinois half-marathon on May 1. Dana helped create and narrate the video featuring Meadowbrook Park that is part of The News-Gazette’s interactive marathon map. It sounds easier than it was. Here’s her story.

Running the one-mile section of the half-marathon course could actually be far easier than the process of creating the video on the interactive map. If at first you don’t succeed...try, try, try again.

Run 1
I tried making a video of the route with a flip camera. Knowing it would be jumpy, I did my best to hold the camera very still as I ran/narrated and to hold my other arm really still so as to have as little motion as possible.

Please note: while running is a sport that favors the legs, it is EXTREMELY hard to run even one mile without moving your arms. And after all that, the result was a jumpy video.

Run 2
I guess that by now, people must have seen it all...which explains why only one person was visibly surprised/concerned? by me as I ran past her with my fancy shmancy camera mounted to an ill-fitting bicycle helmet.

All the others I passed on this run either had great poker faces or were very absorbed in the park or their own thoughts to notice me with my running helmet. (Take Note Runner’s World-maybe a new fashion trend is on the horizon?)

Wind resistance on the helmet did not help my time. The camera was not on.

“Run” 3
By request, I tried to create the video on a bike. Again, the helmet was on my head. However, I was slightly more comfortable this time as one is supposed to wear a helmet on a bike.

I tried to go faster so that fewer people would really pay attention to me. Sadly, a sprinter I am not.

The camera was NOT on. My fault. I had not paid enough attention to whether blinking meant ready or recording.

“Run “ 4
Tried again on the bike. Between the previous attempt and this one, my own bike had a serious seat malfunction, so I commandeered my daughter’s bike. VERY hard on the knees. More people noticed me this time as I couldn’t go very fast.

You know those guys who ride dirt bikes for small kids even though they must be at least 5’10”? I didn’t even look as cool as THEM. My shadow in the opening part of the course belies just how cool I looked.

You will notice that I am riding rather quickly through the park. This is not my superhuman speed, but the beauty of technology that allowed me to speed up and slow down strategically.

The voiceover.
In a nutshell, this also took a few attempts.

The prep pays off
All told, I will have spent about as much time preparing this video and voicing as it will take me to run the entire half marathon course on May 1. Go figure. But how else were you going to get such a great bike’s eye view of the course?

 Have a great run everyone! See you out there.

Check out The News-Gazette’s interactive marathon course map at

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Julie Wurth wrote on April 21, 2010 at 11:04 am
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Great job on the video/voiceover. I kept imagining "Flight of the Bumblebee" playing in the background as you raced through the park!

Christine des Garennes wrote on April 21, 2010 at 11:04 am

Too funny! Maybe next time you can try filming while riding/driving a Segway.