Nothing get me more pumped up to run and train than reading running blogs posts/books, running magazines or watching running documentaries.
Running documentaries have a unique way of showing not only who runs but how they run and why the run. For some reason, seeing these individuals in the flesh makes it much more real and makes goals much more possible.
My first documentary on running was Spirit of the Marathon which I watched about a year ago. I was starting to train for a half-marathon and wanted something to get me in the spirit of running. Not only did the documentary get me in the mood, it showed me that running wasn’t just for elite athletes, it was for everyone.
Below are a list of documentaries I have found fascinating over the years. I watched each numerous times, and even though I know much of messaging and outcomes, it is still a quick picker upper before a run.
Running Documentaries #1 – Spirit of the Marathon
Amazon Description: Spirit of the Marathon is the first film to capture the passion, drama and essence of the famed 26.2-mile Chicago Marathon. Intimate, fascinating portraits of six runners from all walks of life unfold as the film follows seasoned athletes and amateurs alike in their preparation for the big race. See why the Los Angeles Times said “Even if you’ve never run for anything but a bus, you’ll… get swept up in this movie’s inspiring journey”!
Running Documentaries #2 – Run For Your Life
Amazon Description: Without one eccentric first-generation Jewish immigrant from Transylvania, the New York City Marathon simply wouldn’t exist. Ehrlich’s fun, loving, and inspirational tribute to the late Fred Lebow shows how one man’s imagination, determination, and love for running created one of the world’s most popular sporting events.
Running Documentaries #3 – Hood to Coast
Amazon Description: HOOD TO COAST follows four unlikely teams on their epic journey to conquer the world’s largest relay race. It’s difficult to understand why anyone would choose to put themselves through 197 miles of running on back-roads and highways in the middle of the night, with barely any sleep, crammed in a van, but that is the stark reality of the Hood To Coast race. Each year 12,000 people descend on sleepy Oregon forests to make the trek that is not about winning, but a personal journey. Here, the runners tell the story in their own words. Through the mental and physical struggle of this race, the runners look for new strength within themselves and find joy on the beautiful trek through Oregon. For each individual, the race becomes a great symbol of their tenacity and ability to do something they were told was improbable, impossible, or simply unheard of. Alone, no one could run 197 miles, but with positive attitude and the support of a team, anything is possible. While some teams focus all year on training for Hood To Coast, some have never run in their lives.
Running Documentaries #4 – My Run
Amazon Description: After tragically losing his wife to breast cancer and struggling to raise three young children on his own; real life super hero and modern day ‘Forrest Gump;’ Terry Hitchcock seized on an idea. He wanted to accomplish the impossible: run 75 consecutive marathons in 75 consecutive days.
Running Documentaries #5 – Ultramarathon Man – 50 Marathon – 50 States – 50 Days
Amazon Description: Director JB Benna s inspirational film UltraMarathon Man: 50 Marathons – 50 States – 50 Days, features renowned endurance athlete and best selling author Dean Karnazes, in his attempt to run 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 consecutive days to raise awareness for youth obesity and to get America active. A beautiful and epic journey across the United States, during which Dean pushes the limits of human endurance, inspiring thousands across the country to join him along the path while uniting people of all ages and abilities to take the next step.