Montauk Project was supposed to be a promotional event that highlighted the release of Nike’s Flyknit Free, it ended up being a life-changing journey. For the past three weekends 13 strangers met at a running store in the heart of New York City. After a small run they departed via Seaplane to a luxurious Nike running camp on the eastern tip of long island. This was not your high school’s summer running camp. Every detail was thought out, every second planned, and everything centered on the total experience.
The athletes received the newest Nike gear, access and coaching from Elite runners, nutritionist planned meals, and the best accommodations in Montauk. They met and picked the brains of master trainers, Olympians, and Gold Medalists. They trained like they never had before. Each day had multiple workouts, workouts that got progressively harder. They ran on trails, tracks, roads, and beaches. They worked out with Beyonce’s trainer, WNBA players, and Yoga masters.
Each weekend changed peoples’ lives. If you think I’m being dramatic look up #MontaukProject on Instagram and witness the athletes from week two who had the coordinates of the lighthouse in Montauk tattooed permanently on their bodies.
Most of the athletes came in with an amateur knowledge of training and the sport, they left inspired and armed with the knowledge and confidence to take their running to the next level.
I was tasked with capturing it all. I spent my past four weekends in a beach paradise in the Hamptons, so life has been pretty rough. I got to run alongside these runners as their lives were changing. I got to witness people being introduced to Pre for the first time. I watched as the campers met Sanya Richards-Ross, and ran beside Abdi Abdirahman. The job of my dreams was never this good.
I can’t thank Nike and specifically the creators of this camp enough for tasking me with capturing these weekends. I’m grateful to the people I met, the miles ran, and the constant disbelieving smiles. Photographing Montauk Project was a privilege not a job.
Below are some of the images I created. On the first weekend we did a promotional photo shoot for the event. On the subsequent weekends I captured the events as a photojournalist. I was along for the runs, along for the pain, and along for the smiles. Enjoy:
For more details and photos of the camp, checkout one of the athletes recap, Robin did a great job sharing the experience from a runner’s viewpoint: http://tmblr.co/ZNgBMyrfwY6z