Sunrise Reflections: Remembering a True Marathon Friend | Opinion


During the deep winter months of January and February, the AuSable River looks different minute by minute. I pass by it everyday on my way to work and on my way home. When temperatures drop to single digits, and God forbid negative numbers, large chunks of ice form and cluster on the lazy flowing waters.

TRANSMITTED – Oscoda resident Bruce Myles, a longtime supporter of the AuSable River Canoe Marathon, with his Marathon Hall of Fame award in 2013. Myles recently died at age 90.

Many mornings the sun just peeks above the clouds at the edge of the horizon, and a mist of steam rises from the exposed water of the river, as the ice floes heading for Lake Huron. It’s a winter scene in AuSable and Oscoda that has probably been playing for thousands of years.

In the morning the river can be choked with ice, but often in the afternoon, as the sun dips below the horizon on the west side of the city, the river is often clear of ice by nightfall and the whole process begins again. .

The walkway under the Mill Street Bridge (officially renamed the Calvin McLaren Memorial Bridge, after the member of the Iosco County Road Commission) is not where I would want to venture in January. It’s slippery, cold and inhospitable this time of year. But in July, more specifically towards the end of July, for years this was the only place I wanted to be, news camera in hand, to take the picture of the graduates of the AuSable River International Canoe Marathon of this that year.

It was so I could get the last photo I needed to complete my annual cover. If you haven’t seen the winners cross the finish line, you’ve failed in your media coverage. The only constant of my being there was that I had the opportunity to talk about the marathon, photography, hunting and the history of Iosco County with the late Bruce Myles, who died in age 90 on January 20. 7, 1931, was a lifelong resident of Oscoda and was the owner and operator of Myles & Sons insurance agency.

He was a veteran, involved in a lot of things in the community (his obituary can be viewed on our obituary pages) and loved taking photos of the marathon. Although Bruce had many interactions with many different people in the community, most of my interactions with him were about this legendary race. Every summer he was perched in the best spot below deck, with his cameras, tripod, film and often his grandson, to snap pictures of marathon graduates returning from their 120-mile run from Grayling to Oscoda.

It was always a welcome sight for me to come to Oscoda, to get to this place and have Bruce there to talk about racing with and photography. I can say as someone whose career is to take photos for a living, using modern digital equipment, the fact that Bruce could get amazing photos – mostly better than my photos – with equipment that many of photographers considered outdated and just antique, has always impressed me.

For those familiar with film photography, the fact that Bruce could get impressive shots consistently with his single-lens 35mm film camera, with a 300mm telephoto lens, meant he knew the stuff when shooting. was about taking pictures. He had a connection with his camera gear, which meant he knew what he was doing to get great, non-overexposed shots at midday on a July summer day. That alone told me he was passionate about racing. Others thought he was just as passionate, and in fact, he was inducted into the AuSable River Canoe Marathon Hall of Fame at the 66th race in 2013. Bruce was inducted along with racing legend Serge Corbin, and I was able to take a photo of the pair before the race with their commemorative paddles given to them at their induction ceremony.

For once, Bruce had his photo taken at the marathon, instead of his marathon photo. I will never forget the smile on his face as he held his paddle and I took the picture minutes before the start of the 66th race. It was a proud moment for him.

After learning of Bruce’s passing, a little birdie told me that it is in the works that he will be included on the Michigan Canoe Racing Association Memorial on River Road. I think Bruce would love it, knowing he’ll still have a great view of Cooke Pond and the marathon each year.

I will always remember him, however, at Mill Street Bridge with one camera sitting on its tripod, and the second slung around his neck and held close to his eye ready to take a few snaps of runners crossing the finish line . And even though Bruce’s finish line is pretty frigid and inhospitable right now in January, it warms my heart to see him there every year doing one of the things he really loved to do.


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