“The Spirit of the Marathon”

 “The Spirit of the Marathon”

daniel-njenga1

            When it comes to documentaries there are those that will put you to sleep with facts and numbers and old professors and then there are those that will motivate you to go out and do something good.  Well, “The Spirit of the Marathon”(2008) was the latter.  After leaving the Roxie Theatre Monday night I wanted to run a marathon, and I hate running!  I was ready to put on my Nikes and run.

            Out of all of the movies that we have seen this year I have to say that “The Spirit of the Marathon” was by far my favorite and most motivating.  Writer Gary Goldstein said in an article in the LA Times, “Even if you’ve never run for anything but a bus, you’ll likely get swept up in this movie’s inspiring journey of physical endurance and personal achievement”(Goldstein).  This is exactly how I felt sitting in the theatre, I was anxious to leave because I wanted to go run.  There is something about watching others triumph and succeed in their own way that makes others want to do the same.  And for a documentary like this one, I think that the goal is to make the audience feel and connect with the people, in this case the runners from all backgrounds.  I may not have anything in common with any of these people, yet I saw my own struggles with running through them. 

I personally hate to run, I actually despise the sport, but I do it to stay in shape.  However, after seeing this film I got on the treadmill Tuesday morning before my 9am class and ran for 20 minutes, and it felt good.  I thought of the different struggles that each of the six runners had in the film and I thought of my own with my shin splints which has prevented me from running as much as I should.  My shins did not hurt that day, I like to think that maybe the movie did that for me, it blocked out my pain and struggle so that I could get that “runner’s high” that they spoke of in the film.

Finally, on to the actual film, I am no expert on documentaries but “The Spirit of the Marathon” was a very well put together film to me.  The way that the events unfolded was very understandable and I was never once confused.  Robert Koehler said in Variety, “Director Jon Dunham fluidly folds a mini-history of the marathon inside his multi-character portrait of a widely diverse sextet”(Koehler).  This history that Dunham added into his film was very informative and really helped his viewers that have never paid attention to marathons in the past, like me.  He did a very good job of tying in the story about women and marathons and the fear that their uterus might fall out.  This was not only informative but very amusing.  He did this several times, highlighting runners from Kenya and their dominance in the sport.

The camera work was very good as well.  There were a lot of good shots that Dunham got from networks covering the marathon which helped, but by putting those shots in the film was very brilliant.  For example one of my favorite was the overhead shot of the thousands of runners behind the starting line.  It was very astonishing to me how many athletes were running in that marathon and like one of the people said in the movie, they are all “going through the same struggle at the same time, it is not like that in any other sport”.  It was inspiring to watch so many people fight against all sanity and keep going to finish the race.  I actually had a tears in my eyes when Deena Kastor won the women’s race and when first time marathon runner Leah Caille finished despite how badly her knees hurt. 

In conclusion, I like the move, a lot!  I have never really been a big fan of documentaries, mostly because I associate them with science and boring films that I had to watch in government, but now I think I will invest a lot more time in them.  I hope to go to DocFest next year, even though I won’t have to, so that I can see what other new and exciting documentaries have been made.  And maybe someday I’ll run in a marathon too, not so likely, but I’ll start small 2 miles on the treadmill one day 26.2 miles in Chicago the next.  The sky is the limit.

Bibliography

Goldstein, Gary. “Featured Press Articles.” Spirit of the Marathon. 24 Jan. 2008. 28 Oct. 2008 <http://www.marathonmovie.com/pr_latimes.html&gt;.

Koehler, Robert. “Featured Press Articles.” Spirit of the Marathon. 1 Sept. 2008. 28 Oct. 2008 <http://www.marathonmovie.com/pr_variety.html&gt;.

 

 

 

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