I first watched this documentary in 2011, not long after I ran my first marathon. It follows 6 runners as they prepare to run the 2005 Chicago marathon. I challenge anybody to watch it and not shed a tear. I love the commentary by notable marathon runners such as Kathrine Switzer, Frank Shorter and Paula Radcliffe. I also love the historical footage of the Boston marathon.
The documentary follows the training and preparation of the following runners:
Daniel Njenga – an elite Kenyan runner who has finished in the minor placings in several previous runnings of the Chicago marathon. This time, he hopes to finish on top.
Deena Kastor – an Olympic bronze medallist who has never won a major marathon. She wants to change that. She is also recovering from a fractured foot.
Lori O’Connor – A young woman who has run a half marathon, and thinks that lining up for the full distance is natural progression. Her husband is not a runner. He says, “Anything more than 5 miles, that’s what public transport, cars and taxis are for”.
Jerry Meyers – A 70 year-old who is running with his daughter, in her first marathon. Jerry has previously completed 4 marathons. Jerry says, “The only runner’s high that I’ve really experienced is when I stop running”. I love his running shirt, that says “Are we in Kansas yet?”
Leah Caille -A new runner. She took up running to help her recover from divorce. I think her story is probably the most touching.
Ryan Bradley – He is probably the one that I identify with the most. He is hoping to qualify for the Boston marathon. He has previously missed out on a Boston Qualifying time by 21 seconds (less than 1 second per mile).. I know that feeling, having previously missed out on a ‘BQ’ by 27 seconds.
I won’t say how they all go, but not all of the runners get the results they are looking for. Hey, it would not be the marathon if they did. The marathon is about tragedy as well as triumph. It is a great metaphor for life. There are highs and there are lows. What matters is how we triumph over our adversity. “Sometimes the moments that challenge us the most define us” – Deena Kastor.
I am also very excited about the imminent release of Spirit of the Marathon II, which follows 7 runners on their journey back to where it all began… Rome. It is released in the USA on the 12th June 2013.
Spirit of the Marathon is available on Itunes, or you can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7jNLVszR2A