I went to see the movie 'Spirit of the Marathon' last Thursday with Melissa and Mark from the Blue Dawg running group. To me, it's interesting how they are marketing this film as it was shown once in January on the same date and time around the country and once again, in February on the same date and time. The filmmakers are trying to promote a communal experience with other runners? Not sure.
Rather than going into too much detail about the movie, here is a link to their website:
But, here is a brief synopsis. The movie follows six people as they prepare for the Chicago marathon. But, it's not just middle of the packers but also two of the best runners in the world, Deena Kastor and Daniel Njenga. Interwoven in this story is the complicated history of marathoning. From the very beginning when Phedippides ran from the city of Marathon to Athens to announce victory, to the first Olympic marathon, to the start of the Boston marathon, mentioning how 25 miles came to be 26.2 (Queen Victoria wanted to see the start from Windsor Castle so they added 1.2 miles to the race) and discussing Katherine Switzer, the 'first' female in the Boston marathon to Joan Benoit and her triumph of being the first female Olympic marathon champion.
If you are runner, even if you are not a marathoner, you can relate to this story. Everyone has a different reason to run. Leah Caille is a first time marathoner who is trying to get her life back together after divorce. Jerry Meyers is 70 years old and runs with his daughter in his fourth marathon. Ryan Bradley missed qualifying for Boston in his last marathon by ~30 seconds. Lori O'Connor is a high-achiever who takes on yet another major challenge in life and, that is, to run a marathon.
And, me watching this movie, I was feeling everything they were feeling. My own emotions of what I went through to reach my first marathon, all came back to me. The decision to do it, the training involved, the disappointment of being injured two weeks before but the ultimate triumph of finishing the race I had no business starting. Subsequently, I related to all the other emotions of the training for other marathons beyond my first one.
The camera work was terrific. There were beautiful scenes of training in Chicago on Lake Michigan, the mountains where Deena Kastor trains, the African plains where Daniel Njenga started. (My favorite line in the movie is when Deena Kastor talks about running 145 miles a week but is too lazy to do her own stretches so her husband helps! I wish I was that lazy!)Perhaps the most awe-inspiring shot is at the start of the Chicago marathon where the camera pans back to reveal what 40,000 people at a race looks like. And, like all of us that run, these 40,000 all have different reasons for this race.
This was a terrific movie. Runners will certainly appreciate it more than non-runners. And, you don't have to be a marathoner to relate. Any runner can identify with the cast. Because we all have our reasons to run.
(Note: Finally, winter arrived on Friday as the Bucks County area had 4-5 inches of snow. Not only that, but the temps were hovering around freezing on Friday and Saturday. Got up on Sunday not feeling like I want to do 16 miles as it was around 25 degrees F at 8a. Plus, I knew the paths around Lake Galena were not going to be cleared. Well, I did go and did do the 16 miles. And, I was right--the paths were not cleared so portions of the run (about 3 miles) were over icy, frozen snow with lots of ruts. Tough on the legs and feet. I did 2:55 for 16 miles, not bad for the conditions.