Thanks to one of last year’s In Flight runner, Julie Vu, my soul was stirred by the sport of running once again this morning as she shared something on FaceBook which I had forgotten about. I hit the link to view this movie for free on Hulu.com this morning thinking I would just check out a few minutes. One hour and 42 minutes later the credits were rolling and I was feeling all tingley inside.This 2007 movie, “Spirit of the Marathon”, chronicles the story of 2 elite marathoners and 5 ordinary people on their journey to the finish line of the 2006 Chicago Marathon. The movie captures the training leading up to the marathon and marathon day for world class runners American Deena Castor and Kenyan Daniel Njenga and 5 Chicago residents who accept this challenge head on. This documentary is full of interviews of marathon legends and pioneers like Frank Shorter, Paula Radcliffe and Bill Rodgers who breathe life into an event that is now run by over one million Americans each year.
The movie also does a great job of explaining the history of the marathon and how it has evolved into one of the most popular athletic events in the world. “Spirit of the Marathon” will knock your socks off and get you out the door for your next training run with a quicker step in your stride. We all start this marathon journey for our own reason and the movie illustrates this in a big way.
As a marathon coach I have seen this story unfold many times over as average runners train their hearts out, go the distance and accomplish what they thought was not possible. As I was watching this movie the faces of the hundreds I have coached and trained over the years flashed through my memory, especially those who thought this marathon was not a big deal until they crossed the finish line in tears. Every minute of this movie reminded me why I love coaching runners and how 26.2 or 13.1 are concrete numbers that change people’s lives. It reminded me why we all sacrifice sleep, time away from our families and other things in life to rise before the sun and knock down the needed miles. There is no other experience in the world that comes close to finishing a marathon or half marathon whether it is your first or your 20th. This movie gives the marathon the respect it truly deserves and captures all of the human drama and emotion behind it.
Watch this if this is your first marathon. Watch this if it is you 10th. Watch this if you want to be inspired and see the glory that lies ahead if you stick to the training and make the sacrifices along the way. Watch this if you are starting to feel like you want to throw in the towel. Just watch it OK? If running is in your blood I know you will love it. Hit the link above to view it for free at Hulu.com. You will be glad you did.