Movie Review: The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

I struggled watching this movie made in 1962.  Maybe in part because it was a black and white movie, but probably more likely because the movie wasn’t centered around running as much as the title initially led me to believe.  Or perhaps I just never grew accustomed to the British accents.

This movie focuses more on the main character’s petty crime and time spent at reform school than running.  The last scene is centered around a cross country race, but beyond another shot of a practice or two, little else contained anything related to running.  Instead of understanding the loneliness of the long distance runner, I felt the loneliness of being one of the few that has ever watched this movie in its entirety.  I would not recommend this movie if you expect a plot centered around running.



Olympics Opening Ceremony

I’m watching the Olympics Opening Ceremony as I type this blog and am absolutely loving it.  What a fantastic job of weaving their country’s story into world history.  I must admit, I am certainly following this a lot better than the Opening Ceremony in Beijing.  Here’s some of my favorite parts:

  • James Bond and the Queen “parachuting” into the stadium;
  • Relax! proves that 80s music still rules;
  • Parade of the countries;
  • Even the commercials (especially Ryan Hall’s AT&T commercial) — I’m enjoying this more than the Superbowl!;
  • David Beckham and the torch;
  • Lighting of the Olympic cauldron (although I was hoping Roger Bannister would do it); and
  • Sebastian Coe’s speech — I remember watching him run during my childhood;
  • Chariots of Fire and Bean was hands-down the best part – proves runners should never take themselves too busy.

I’m so thrilled by the ceremony that I feel inspired to run an eight mile run at marathon pace — wait, that’s tomorrow morning.

Movie Review: The Long Green Line

This motivational documentary follows York High School in its quest for their 24th Illinois state cross country title.  It explores the dynamics of team running as well as the ability to respond to adversities.  Under the leadership of the legendary Joe Newton, the team tries its best to continue the tradition established in cross country.

I highly recommend this movie to any cross country runner or coach.  A few points I took away from the movie include:

  • Empowering the runners to mold their season; and
  • Treating all runners with the same respect and consideration whether they are the #1 runner or the #50 runner.

Movie Review: Without Limits

This movie covers the running career of Steve “Pre” Prefontaine, one of the premiere distance runners in the early 1970s. From his years with Coach Bill Bowerman (co-founder of Nike) at the University of Oregon to his 5,000 meter race at the 1972 Munich Olympics to his tragic death in a car accident before the 1976 Montreal Olympics, this movie captures Prefontaine’s attitude of testing the human spirit.  A few items that stand out from the movie:   

  • The beginning of the movie with the Olympic motto “Citius, Altius, Fortius” translated as faster, higher, stronger.
  • Prefontaine remains the 5,000 meter 19 and under American record holder at 13:39.6.

A must watch movie for those who enjoy the competitive side of running.

Movie Review: Ultramarathon Man: 50 Marathons, 50 States, 50 Days

An inspirational documentary that follows the efforts of Dean Karnazes during his running of 50 back to back marathons in every state.  Below are some of my favorite parts of the movie: 

  • His daughter’s comment at the end of the Arizona marathon segment that it doesn’t matter how many times you fall down, what matters is how many times you get back up.
  • During the marathon in Grand Rapids, Dean talks about the greatest test is how you react when the pain sets in, usually around mile 20 in a marathon – that is when you discover what are you made of.
  • Hilarious footage of runner talking while running and hitting a pole at the 1:20 part of the movie
  • Dean’s father’s advice:  “Run if you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must.  Just keep moving forward and don’t give up.”
  • The most inspirational part of entire documentary was Dean finishing his 50th consecutive marathon in the NYC marathon – simply incredible.

If you enjoy running, I recommend watching this documentary.

Movie Review: Spirit of the Marathon

Looking for a little motivation to run?  This documentary will do the trick.  The movie follows six participants in the 2005 Chicago Marathon.  Ranging from walk/jog participants to world-class athletes, the movie covers the multiple challenges faced while training for a marathon.  The documentary culminates with each participant’s experience during the marathon.  This is a must see if you enjoy running.  Netflix offers it on both streaming and DVD.