Running Documentaries to Watch

Back in March, in my Movies and Books That Inspire post, I gave some of my favorite running movies or documentaries that have inspired me over the years.

Over the last several months, I have been able to watch a few more running movies and documentaries.

Sometimes the best stories are ones about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Seeing or hearing stories like that make it seem possible for you to do the extraordinary things also.

Here are three more that I have really liked and encourage you to watch if you are looking for some extra inspiration in your running or your life.

ONCE IS ENOUGH

An overweight man decides to train for and run a 100 mile race after his mother’s early death due to heart disease. The first race he trains for is the Leadville 100, which is a 100 mile race through The Rocky Mountains in Colorado. In this race, he misses the time cutoff just before the halfway point and doesn’t complete the race.

After the disappointment of how the first race ended, he decides to give it another try and registers for the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile race in Texas. Even though he was initially doing the race in memory of his mother, he is clearly very determined to prove it to himself also. Perhaps my only real drawback of the documentary is that he didn’t give much in the way of his training and preparation going from not running at all to attempting a 100 race.

That being said though, I really appreciated how he told his story in a comedic way and it easy to see how much it means to him. The main thing that I got out of the movie was if you make a decision to improve yourself, then commit to it and come up with a plan to reach your goal. After that it’s all up to you to follow your plan!

LIGHTHOUSE IN THE DARK

Rhys Jenkins is an ultrarunner from Wales, who runs the Wales Coast Path in an attempt at the fastest known time. The Wales Coast Path is an 870 mile trail along the coastline of Wales. With a fastest known time of 20.5 days, Rhys sets out to complete the distance in 19 days. This would require a little more than 45 miles per day for 19 straight days to accomplish the fastest known time.

In addition to his desire to get the fastest known time, Rhys is running to support three different charities. The documentary gives a great look at both the mental and physical aspects that go into attempting a challenge as difficult as this.

Some of the really useful themes that I liked from this documentary were:

  • Mental toughness is the most important aspect of attempting a challenge like this.
  • Make sure your ‘Need to Achieve’ is greater than your ‘fear of failure’.
  • Use people’s doubt in you as a motivator to complete your goal.
  • Your mind and your body are capable of much more than you realize.

Without giving away the ending, I found this documentary to be very inspiring and fun to watch.

KIPCHOGE: THE LAST MILESTONE

Eliud Kipchoge is the greatest marathon runner of all time – winning 13 of the 15 competitive marathons that he has entered. This documentary shows what went on behind the scenes of his 2019 attempt to become the first person in history to run a marathon in under 2 hours. It gives a great look at his physical and mental preparations going into and during the attempt.

In 2017, Kipchoge and two other runners attempted to complete a sub-2:00 marathon on a closed Formula 1 racetrack in Italy. In that attempt, Kipchoge finished in 2:00:25, which showed that he wasn’t far from being able to break two hours.

Going into his 2019 attempt, he already held the world record marathon time, so his main goal with breaking two hours was to inspire people all around the world that “no human is limited.” Leading up to this attempt, there were countless hours of preparation put into developing the race strategy of the pacers as well as the course layout.

The main theme of the documentary (and Kipchoge’s mantra) is “No Human is Limited”. The idea behind “no human is limited” is that you are capable of more than you think you are. It doesn’t mean that everyone can run a two hour marathon because everyone’s ability levels differ, but it does mean that you can continually raise your personal targets and are capable of achieving them.

Of course, before watching this I already knew that he became the first person to break the two hour mark in this attempt. But even with that, this documentary was still one of the best I’ve seen. Not because it gave me hope that I could ever break a two hour marathon, but because it achieved its goal of making me believe that I can achieve greater things than I ever thought possible for myself.

I know that at the beginning of this post I said that some of the best stories are of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, but in the case of Kipchoge he is an extraordinary person doing extraordinary things and his story is just as great!

What’s your favorite running (or non-running) movie that has inspired you? I’d love to hear about it, so that I can watch it if I haven’t already seen it!


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6 thoughts on “Running Documentaries to Watch

  1. Excellent suggestions here.

    I haven’t seen the first two you mentioned, and I’m planning on watching the Kipchoge one ASAP.

    I recommend watching ‘Desert Runners’. Awesome documentary about a group of people traveling around the world and attempting to complete the 4 Deserts ultramarathon series.

    Liked by 1 person

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