Not all films about trail and ultrarunning make it to Netflix like The Barkley Marathons or have the opportunity to be narrated by celebrities such as Matt Damon in Running the Sahara, but there are many lesser known films showcasing the perseverance, dedication and mental fortitude involved in trail and ultra running.
It’s always inspiring to see the highs people enjoy and the lows they push through. Some runners have a time goal or a win in mind, others are just fighting to make it to the end. Through viewing a film along the way we are able to get to know the runners on a more personal level, providing a better understanding of why they do it, how they do it and what drives them to push themselves.
Here is a list of trail and ultrarunning films that are sure to inspire, educate and entertain you.
Out There – A Journey to the Barkley Marathons
Belgium’s Karel Sabbe, the global winner of Big’s Backyard Ultra 2020, tries his luck at the Barkley Marathons in 2019. The film is not just about the Barkley Marathons, but as the name states it is about his journey which includes detailed segments of his race at Marathon des Sables, along with his record setting runs on both the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail.
Director: Fabien Duflos
Length: 54 minutes
This film chronicles Rickey Gates’ journey running 3700 miles across America in 2016. Rather than just exploring the issues in running this distance, it also spends time exploring all of the types of people he would meet along the way, who all think he is crazy when he tells them where he’s headed. An interesting look at the perseverance and attitude it takes to run such a distance.
Director: Dean Leslie
Length: 75 minutes
This film gives an up close look at what drives Courtney Dauwalter to the be one of the best ultrarunners in the world as she tackles the Tahoe 200. It provides some insight into her backstory and how she developed her never quit yet positive attitude which contributes to her success today. An interesting watch through the ups and downs of her run at Tahoe and how she deals with and pushes through adversity.
Directors: Carrie & Tim Highman
Length: 39 minutes
Coming Home – Ag Teacht Abhaile
Paddy O’Leary attempts to set the fastest known time on the 115km Wicklow Round in Ireland. Rules for the Wicklow Round state that the runner must carry their own gear and may not use a GPS for directions, adding a level of difficulty to the challenge. Footage includes Paddy’s preparation as he meets with many other runners who have run or set the record on the trail previously.
Director: Ryan Scura & Dylan Ladds
Length: 24 minutes
Unbreakable: The Western States 100
2020 marks the 10 year anniversary of an epic showdown at the 2010 Western States Endurance Run. This film details the race and personal stories of four elite runners going for the win. Anton Krupicka, Hal Koerner, Geoff Roes and a 22 year old Killian Jornet are all hoping to be first to the finish line, while each has their own issues to deal with during the race. A fun watch with an exciting finish down to the wire.
Director: J.B. Benna
Length: 106 minutes
Trials of Miles
Australian Beau Miles sets out to run the entire 650+ kilometers of the Australian Alpine Walking Track from Walhalla to Tharwa. The film splits between time with Beau’s running mishaps and time with the crew providing support and assistance along the way. A fun journey to follow along, Beau is humorous and pleasure to watch as he tackles some of Australia’s highest peaks to complete the trail.
Director: Beau Miles & Brett Campbell
Length: 52 minutes
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