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Movie Recommendations for Runners


Created October 30, 2013

Spirit of the Marathon DVD
Photo courtesy of PriceGrabber Fred Lebow Run for Your Life movie

Need some running inspiration or just looking to satisfy your inner running nerd? Check out one of these five excellent films about running: 

1. Chariots of Fire:  You may know the theme song from the movie very well, but not be very familiar with the actual story. The 1981 Best Picture winner, this film tells the fascinating story of two Olympic sprinters from Great Britain who run for different reasons in the 1924 Olympics.  One is a devout Protestant running for the glory of God and the other is a Jew running to overcome prejudice.

2. Spirit of the Marathon: This documentary shares the stories of six runners preparing for the 2005 Chicago Marathon. The runners, all with very different backgrounds and ability levels, have varied reasons for running the race and have their share of challenges along the way. Interspersed through  their personal stories are vintage footage and interviews with running legends that illustrate the rich history of marathon running.

3. Without Limits: This film dramatizes the life of Steve Prefontaine, America's top distance runner in the 1970's, whose record-setting, front-running style revolutionized the sport and captivated American running fans like no other distance runner.

4. Run for Your Life:  This documentary tells the story of how Fred Lebow, a Romanian immigrant, took the NYC marathon from a small, unknown race in Central Park and turned it into the worldwide, celebrated event that it is today. Through the use of archival footage and interviews with famous runners such as Bill Rodgers and Grete Waitz, the film explains how Lebow ignored many naysayers and galvanized support for his big idea – to take the NYC marathon to the streets of the city’s five boroughs -- and made the dream a reality in 1976.

5. Spirit of the Marathon II:  Similar to the first Spirit of the Marathon, the film follows runners from all walks of life as they prepare for their big race. While the setting for the original film was the Chicago Marathon, this time the runners are hitting the streets of Rome.


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