@Brian, I guess this is a personal thing we each like, I respect your view. The last shot here for me is a perfect example of my thinking, the expression on the athletes face and how tense the muscles are flexed portrays the body under some form of stress.
I shot our local marathon for the last two years and my intention was to capture this sort of image although I did shoot wider shots. Having said that, even with athletes running towards you it is still difficult to fill the frame and get the subject in focus. As above, I said I like toothpaste’s style of people photography.
Link to my Marathon.
http://www.cameralabs.com/forum/viewtop ... t=marathon