my guide to the best running movies of all time

I do love a good movie, and running movies are fast-becoming favorites on my list. There is something absolutely cinematic about the motivation and determination that goes along with the sport, and I have been moved to goosebumps, if not sobs, by a good running flick.

Want to know my top five? Grab your popcorn and keep reading!

running movies

5. Chariots Of Fire

Chariots of Fire is based on the true story of two British athletes, their journey to and triumphs at the 1924 Summer Olympics. This is a movie about personal sacrifice, religious devotion, overcoming prejudice and sportsmanship, all set on a track. Bonus: the soundtrack, including the main theme by Vangelis, is swoonworthy, empowering, and holds a place of honor on my own running playlist.

running movie

4. Run Fatboy Run

Next up is Run Fatboy Run: a comedic foray into marathon running, starring Simon Pegg and Hank Azaria. This hilarious and inspiring running movie follows Dennis Doyle, a man who has spent his life running away from every challenge he’s faced. In a last-ditch attempt to win back the mother of his son and women of his dreams from the cocky, arrogant Whit, he decides to run the London Marathon. Through his training, Dennis finds himself, a support system he never knew he had, and the strength to face his fears.

running movie

3. Race

To be honest, the cinematic retelling of the Jesse Owens story is an uncomfortable watch. The 1930s were an ugly time, not only for Germany, but for the United States and many other countries in the world. It’s gut-wrenching to see racism and prejudice playing out, even among the people and characters we might consider “heroes.” However, all it takes is one person to fly (or run) in the face of that ugliness to start the turning of the tide. Race is one of the great running movies that will get you fired up, and serve as a reminder to always stand up for what’s right.

running movies

2. McFarland, USA

I confess that McFarland USA brought me to sobs in a crowded a crowded movie theater. McFarland USA tells the true story of Coach Jim White, who built a cross country team at a high school in one of the most economically challenged cities in the country. The focus here is family, loyalty and making the best out of seemingly hopeless situations. It’s also so inspiring to see what these men are doing now to pay it forward.

running movies

1. The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young

I’m not sure how I heard about The Barkley Marathons, but this documentary is something I could watch on repeat. The entire story of this race, from its history to its implementation, is nothing short of fascinating. I am pretty obsessed with ultra runners (and anyone who pushes themselves beyond reasonable limits) and I truly can’t get enough of the tale of athletes who set out on a truly hellish race. Wrap your head around the fact that there are years with no finishers at all! Will you be there when Laz lights his unfiltered Camel at the yellow gate?

running movies

It’s Tuesday, so we are linking up for Tuesday Thoughts with KookyRunner and Zenaida!

Please visit these lovely bloggers, plus check out some of the other blogs on the link-up, and don’t forget to share your own post, as well!

Have you watched any of these great running movies?

What’s your favorite?

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22 Responses to my guide to the best running movies of all time

  1. Chaitali says:

    I’ve seen Run Fat Boy Run and the movie about the Barkley marathons, but haven’t seen the others. I need to add them to my list!
    Chaitali recently posted…Weekly ReviewMy Profile

  2. I first heard of the Barkley Marathon in an article in RW (a few years ago). I didn’t realize a movie had been made! I’ll have to check that out 😉

  3. I’ve never seen any of these!!

  4. Kim G says:

    I haven’t seen any of these movies so thanks so much for all these recommendations~

  5. The only one of these that I have seen is Barkley marathons! That was a crazy movie full of crazy runners huh?
    Deborah Brooks recently posted…5 Reasons To Cheer On A Marathoner- Guest PostMy Profile

  6. How could I forget Race? I saw it and loved it too. I used to work with one of Jesse Owen’s granddaughters. One day she was telling us about being at the Olympics (cannot remember the year or location). Were were wondering what she was doing there and that is when she told us. 🙂

  7. The Barkley marathons is a great watch. I’ve not seen the others though. New list for my weekend 😉
    Madhusree Basu recently posted…19 Best Walking Shoes For Bunions in 2019, According to PodiatristsMy Profile

  8. I haven’t actually seen any of these! I did enjoy Brittany Runs a Marathon recently, though. True story!

  9. Run Fat Boy Run is one of my favorites too! I haven’t heard of McFarland or Barkley Marathons.

  10. Wendy says:

    I loved McFarland USA! So inspiring. The Barkley Marathons is something else. Such a good movie but wow! I could never do it!

  11. Out of your list, I’ve only seen The Barkley Marathon, but then, we’re not really into movies so it doesn’t surprise me. Like you, though, I loved The Barkley Marathon. We really should watch Chariots of Fire since it’s such a classic.
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted…Family Time and Back to Babying My BodyMy Profile

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