January 25, 2008

Four thumbs up

Four of us went to see Spirit of the Marathon last night, two who had run a marathon and two who hadn't. All agreed it was a very good movie.

As I mentioned earlier, it follows 6 athletes - 2 pros, 2 past marathoners, and 2 first timers. I thought they did a great job of following each, though they probably could have done a full movie on just one of them. For the non-pros we saw their 10 and 20 mile training runs as well as a half marathon they participated in. Seeing the faces of the first timers at the marathon's start line brings the experience into focus.

Along with following the athletes, some history was brought in on the marathon's origin, the Olympic competition, women fighting to be included, and the Boston marathon mystique.

There were some great lines that had the theater laughing out loud:

  • Asking a first timer "do you think you'll win?"
  • The older guy "They talk about the runner's high. The only high I get is when I stop running."
  • The non-running husband "I don't get it. 26 miles is what public transportation is for."
  • The line about uteruses falling out.

At the start of the 2005 Chicago Marathon, they slowly pan from the start line back to the 35-40,000 runners behind them. It just goes on and on. They also did a great job following and filming the runners during the race. The pain and emotion on the single mother's face describes the experience better than words could.

They had a shot of one of the athletes training, and he was talking about how amazingly fast the pros are. He is running on his treadmill and cranks it up to 12 mph. Just watching his feet fly brings it home how fast they are moving for 26 miles. The elite men actually go a bit faster than that.

The movie wasn't sappy, but there were a few moments when tears were welling. I am guessing many would only hit a marathoner as it wasn't heavy handed. There were some extras and deleted scenes after the credits that were worth staying for. I may go see it again in February, and will probably buy the DVD when it comes out.

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