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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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Have you watched any of these great running movies?
What’s your favorite?