That’s right, we’ve been suffering through some crazy cold and snow for weeks, but the 21st is really only the first day of winter!
Some of you will begrudgingly find yourselves on the treadmill this winter due to travel, ice or just bad luck. Others of us will be loving wearing our shorts and watching tv while running!
Luckily, there’s nothing like a good show about running to keep your legs pumping just a little bit longer. Plus, seeing all the commercials for the coming Marathon: The Patriot’s Day Bombing had me looking for running movies that would keep me focused on the positive.
10 Motivational Running Movies
Super surprised and excited to say a bunch of these are on Netflix and Amazon streaming, so if you have those options you might just be able to pull them up on your tablet even at the gym!
I recently watched this 2016 biographical story of Jesse Owens and it certainly made my long run longer. I admit to not knowing much about his story prior to the movie. Seeing the racism of both the US and the fears of that Munich Olympics was fascinating because it wasn’t so long ago. A reminder of how much things have changed and of course a beautiful story of his legendary runs.
Spirit of the Marathon (2008 version)
While in Miami, my good friend Deanna invited a group of us to watch this during our marathon taper and it was perfect for getting our mind right to race. This is a documentary style film that follows both elite and everyday runners training for the Chicago marathon. Being able to relate to their fears, joys and frustrations makes this a great pre-race watch.
Kevin Costner knows how to bring the underdog story to life. This one is a Disney movie based on the true story of a 1987 cross country team in Southern California. A fired football coach, he comes to a new school and finds a group of 7 young men with talent, but little future prospects and he decides to start a cross country team…it’s Disney, so you can take it from there.
This is one of my favorite books of all time and I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the movie. It doesn’t seem to involve quite as much running as the book, but I had to include it. It follows 1936 Olympian, Louie Zamporini, who most of us never heard of prior to this book.
His strength, courage and determination in the face of obstacles we will never know is incredible. If he can survive a prisoner of war camp, then I can certainly handle a few more miles!Skipping a few too many runs lately? Checkout these motivational running movies! #runchat Click To Tweet
Ever wondered what it would be like to train and race with other elites? Besides all the puking I’d be doing, it’s interesting to see that it might not be as glamorous as we’d like to think. No personal chefs and in home massage therapists. “Fast Women follows four female runners from the same local running club as they aspire to reach their goals. Three women are aiming for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, while the fourth is a 32 year old woman who is trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon after having suffered a debilitating stroke.”
The Barkely Marathons
Looking for the hardest race you could possible do? How about one that hardly one finishes?! This documentary follows a trail race in Tennessee that seems designed simply to induce pain. It’s a strange, funny, intriguing story that will have you running extra miles to find out what’s next. Why the secret application? How is the route even created?!
The Terry Fox Story
I feel like his story is getting less attention each year and yet Terry has done so much for running. This movie showcases Terry’s life of losing his leg to cancer and then attempting a run across Canada as an amputee to help raise money for cancer research. Of course it’s an 80’s movie, like many of the one’s listed, it’s a little grainy and the outfits are goofy…but it will inspire.
He seems so small compared to the large muscles we see on sprinters in the Olympics now! But that’s not really the point, the point is to see the life of an incredible runner unfold and find out what pieces of his intensity and spirit can drive your own running to a new level. If you don’t know the story of Steve Prefontaine, you’re missing out. This is a compilation of old videos and lots of interviews with those who knew him.
In case you didn’t get enough of Pre in the previous movie, this one follows his journey alongside respected coach Bill Bowerman. While the other movie seems to focus on how he overcame obstacles like a shorter leg or issues with the Athletic association, this one shows him more as naturally gifted, but stubborn. It shows the interactions with his coach, which can be super interesting for all of us independent runners.
I just finished a book similar to this movie and knew it too would not only motivate, but open my eyes to the rest of the world. Deciding which of our running shoes we’ll pull on today, we can’t imagine a world where wearing those same shoes could get you killed. This is the story of how being fast allowed Wesley Korir to escape that life of hardship in Kenya. And then more importantly how is love of country and family made him return home to try and improve life for everyone.
I know someone is going to slap me down for not including Chariots of Fire, but I have a horrible confession…I haven’t watched it. EIIK! I know I’m an awful runner, right? For some reason it’s just never jumped out at me, but I promise to fix that this year.
A few other honorable mentions:
- The Robber
- Marathon Man
- The Jericho Mile
- Personal Best
What’s your top running movie?
What do you watch on the treadmill?
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