January 26, 2021

Running Films | 12 Documentaries That All Runners Should Watch

6 min read
Lacking inspiration on those long runs? Look no further than our list of the most...

Lacking inspiration on those long runs? Look no further than our list of the most uplifting running films around

Some runners love winter running, they are built differently and thrive in the cold weather. Many other people though struggle to get inspired and get out there in the coldness. If you’re of the latter mindset, then we may have a little bit of inspiration for you in the shape of 12 motivational running films to get you back on track.

These films will present you with heroes of the running world that have epic stories to be told. Who knows? They might just resonate with you enough to make you lace up those trainers once again.

Leadman: The Dave Mackey Story

Release Date: 2019
Watch Time (minutes): 24

The life of a trail runner can lead to some unexpected pathways. This was the case on the 23rd of May, 2015, when endurance runner Dave Mackey’s life changed forever on what was meant to be a routine training run. Tragedy struck when a giant boulder came away from the mountain, landing on him and crushing his left leg.

The next year was full of unsuccessful surgeries, with Dave and his family ultimately making the tough decision to amputate. This film by Billy Yang and Matt Trappe is one of  determination. It will show you the true meaning of never giving up on something you truly love doing.

Gun Runners

Release Date: 2015
Watch Time (minutes): 89

Two Kenyans learn a new meaning for the term ‘gun time’ as they leave their life as countryside bandits to try and make it as professional marathon runners.

This running film follows Julius Arile and Robert Matanda on their journey to professional status. Highlighting just how quickly Kenyan runners can go from poverty to being an overnight running sensation by reaching worldwide fame in the sport, it also showcases the difficulty in making it big in a place full to the brim with great runners.

Thabang

Release Date: 2019
Watch Time (minutes): 13

Thabang Madiba stumbled into the world of trail running and hasn’t looked back once, as he continues to morph himself into a community figure after becoming the first black South African to represent the country in the sport.

Residing in the Ga-Rankuwa township, he didn’t rely on mountains or rocky terrain to practice. It was through hard work and passion that he succeeded. Thabang chased his dream and left the doubters trailing in the distance.

The Wolf Pack

Release Date: 2018
Watch Time (minutes): 12

Pay a visit to the San Juan Mountains, and you will have every chance of encountering a pack of feral runners. The Braford-Lefebvre family have made the decision to live here in order to raise their family wild. As a family collective, they traipse around mountainous terrain and navigate mineral-stained peaks – exploring their backyard through the medium of running.

Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young

Release Date: 2014
Watch Time (minutes): 89

This 2014 in-depth running documentary focuses on raising awareness for what many consider to be the hardest ultrarunning event in the world.

The Barkley Marathon is a 100-mile run that can be found in Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee. Since the race started in 1986, only a total of 15 people have finished it.

“Since the race started in 1986, only a total of 15 people have finished it”

But what makes this course so tough?

It might have something to do with the fact that the elevation on the route is equivalent to climbing Mount Everest a total of two times.

This running documentary delves deep inside the intimidating event and tells you everything you need to know about race creator Gary Cantrell’s secret application process.

Just Keep Running

Release Date: 2020
Watch Time (minutes): 9

Ruby Muir is one of the world’s most elite young trail-runners. The New Zealander shows exactly why this is the case in this short running documentary about her journey through the sport and everything she has given to it so far.

In Just Keep Running, you will see how dealing with inner struggles is sometimes the biggest stumbling block for runners.

Transamericana

Release Date: 2020
Watch Time (minutes): 75

Transamericana is an epic documentary that sees American runner Rickey Gates attempt to cover 3,700 miles across America. Salomon TV have put together a great and insightful running documentary here that will take you across the heartland of a divided America. The athlete’s journey starts on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and finishes by the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco.

This is a must watch for any running enthusiast.

Boundless

Release Date: 2019
Watch Time (minutes): 8

Boundless is a creation from our chums over at Outdoors Magic. This incredible journey follows Chris Nicholson as he attempts to take on the OMM x Outdoors Magic 10K – the world’s first disability-inclusive trail race.

This inspirational film will teach you never to give up on the pursuit of something you have a passion for. Great little film, this.

Marathon Boy

Release Date: 2010
Watch Time (minutes): 98

Marathon Boy is follows four-year-old Budhia Singh being rescued from a life of poverty by his judo coach Biranchi Das. The man quickly realises the boy’s uncanny talent for long-distance running and helps him mould his ability.

This documentary follows the pair as Biranchi nurtures Budhia’s gift, announcing him as a cult figure that will be remembered in India for the ages. But this hope quickly turns to scandal as Budhia breaks down during a world-record 65 kilometer run at the age of four, with the public perception of Biranchi quickly turning sour. Many think that he just wants to exploit the boy for financial gain and nothing more.

This astonishing story puts it all out there, telling the story  an Indian boy runner who was sold by his mother for 800 rupees to a drug peddler.

A complex, hard-hitting, running documentary but one you simply have to watch.

Paul Tierney: Running the Wainwrights

Release Date: 2019
Watch Time (minutes): 62

Inov-8 ambassador Paul Tierney is faced with one almighty task – he has to summit all 214 Alfred Wainwright Lake District peaks in one go. His goal was to try his best to beat the record time of 6 days, 13 hours, and 1 minute, set in 2014 by Steve Birkinshaw.

Join Paul on this battle as he attempts to cover a distance of 318 miles, and climb the equivalent height of the highest mountain in the world four times.

This ultrarunning film takes you through all the emotions.

Fast Women

Release Date: 2010
Watch Time (minutes): 97

Fast Women is the captivating story of four female runners from the same running club who work together to achieve their goals.

Three women are pursuing the U.S Olympic Marathon Trials while the fourth is trying desperately to qualify for the Boston Marathon after suffering a debilitating stroke. Fast Women is the result of what can be achieved when four driven women follow their path.

The real beauty of this documentary is that it’s about four regular people and not pro athletes.

Running For Good

Release Date: 2018
Watch Time (minutes): 74

Running for Good is the feature-length running documentary that follows world record marathon runner Fiona Oakes. It takes us on her heroic attempt to set a new global record in endurance racing as she plans to complete the most gruelling footrace on earth.

The Marathon Des Sables, a 250km race that takes place in the Sahara Desert.

Fiona Oakes is a name that stands tall in the endurance running scene. In 2013, Oakes became the fastest female in aggregate time to complete a marathon on every continent.

All this from someone who lost a kneecap due to a tumour, when she was aged just 17.

Fiona stuck to her rehab, overcame adversity, and achieved feats she never thought possible.

This documentary will resonate with you with you, and make you realise just how much humans can achieve with never-say-die drive and determination.

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