Picture Perfect: Colin B's Favorite Track Moments- Intro


While we are all staying home and practicing social distancing, I have found myself daydreaming of what we would be doing if 2020 was like years past, as I am sure many of you are doing. I have spent days scouring my photo archives, reflecting on past experiences and memories through the blessing that it is being a photojournalist.

That being said, MileSplit Illinois Editor Tony Jones texted me Sunday afternoon asking if I could put together my top three favorite outdoor track assignments.

For a little bit of context, my name is Colin Boyle - I've been the Photo Editor at MileSplit Illinois since 2015 and this is my eighth season of working with MileSplit. Minus brief stints in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I have been based in Chicago my entire life and I have been running for years, albeit not the best. The last three summers, I have competed in the Chicago Triathlon's charity division and I ran in high school.

Now, I have had the pleasure of spending the last seven spring seasons photographing for MileSplit Illinois across the state. These assignments usually bring uneven and awkward tan lines, weather ranging from high winds to snow to meet-halting lightning, oh, and having front row seats to incredible performances on all levels and competitions of track and field. Simply put, it is difficult to name just three experiences that stick out to me as we move from season to season of track.

Nevertheless, as I tackle this column series, I am taking a slightly different approach. As a former Illinois high school runner (I was never very good, and unfortunately, there are stats that prove this), I had a special privilege of being able to photograph the IHSA greats whom I admired on a competitive level. I started working with MileSplit Illinois my freshman year at Lane Tech, where Tony was my cross country and track coach. In 2015, I wrote a reflective piece about some of my fondest memories during my pilot season with MileSplit if you'd like to learn more. 

Whether as a competitor or as a journalist, I owe so much of who I am to track & field. I have met some of my closest friends, colleagues and idols through this sport. Covering this sport has opened me up to the world of journalism and photography.

With this all being said, this series of my favorite moments in Illinois outdoor track & field comes from the perspective of being behind a camera. I'm no statistician and my track knowledge pales in comparison to that of Tony Jones. However, the experiences I have had with track & field are certainly different - these are just a few of the moments that shaped my love for documenting the sport and its invigorating energy. So let's get to it!

-- Colin Boyle