This was the perfect movie to give me an inspirational boost for next Sunday’s track meet. It was my second time to watch but it still did the trick. Released in 1998, Without Limits is one of the best films about the American track legend, Steve Prefontaine. The subject matter cannot be any more exciting and tragic, as far as track and field goes. Great story, good casting, and decent acting. If you have not seen this movie, I highly recommend you check your local library, DVD rental store, or buy at Amazon. Unfortunately, Netflix does not carry this in the States.
There are a number of great quotes in this movie. I will introduce some of my favorites here:
Running, one might say, is basically an absurd past-time upon which to be exhausting ourselves. But if you can find meaning, in the kind of running you have to do to stay on this team, chances are you will be able to find meaning in another absurd past-time: Life. – Bill Bowerman
I’d like to work it out so that at the end, it’s a pure guts race. If it is, I’m the only one who can win it. – Steve Prefontaine before Munic 5,000m race
I don’t want to win unless I know I’ve done my best, and the only way I know how to do that is to run out front, flat out until I have nothing left. Winning any other way is chicken-shit. – Steve Prefontaine when arguing his front-running style with Bowerman
There may be men out there who can beat me but they’re going to have to bleed to do it. – Steve Prefontaine
I can endure more pain than anyone you’ve ever met. That’s why I can beat anyone I’ve ever met. – Steve Prefontaine
All my life, man and boy, I’ve operated under the assumption that the main idea in running was to win the race. Naturally, when I became a coach I tried to teach people how to do that. Tried to teach Pre how to do that. Tried like hell to teach Pre to do that. And Pre taught me. Taught me I was wrong. Pre, you see, was troubled by knowing that a mediocre effort can win a race and a magnificent effort can lose one. Winning a race wouldn’t necessarily demand that he give it everything he had from start to finish. He never ran any other way. I tried to get him to, God knows I tried… but… Pre was stubborn. He insisted on holding himself to a higher standard than victory. ‘A race is a work of art’; that’s what he said, that’s what he believed and he was out to make it one every step of the way. – Bill Bowerman
Of course he wanted to win. Those who saw him compete and those who competed against him were never in any doubt how much he wanted to win. But how he won mattered to him more. Pre thought I was a hard case. But he finally got it through my head that the real purpose of running isn’t to win a race. It’s to test to the limits of the human heart. That he did… Nobody did it more often. Nobody did it better. – Bill Bowerman
Oh, Pre… Why did you have to go so young?
East African countries, most notably Kenya and Ethiopia, rule today’s mid and long distance running. This new documentary, Town of Runners, shows you why that is the case, from a perspective of rather primitive Ethiopian society. But more importantly, this film exposes poor training environments in the country where a huge pool of talents are just waiting to be exploited. This film does not go into genetics, physiology, anthropology, or training methods to explain why Ethiopians are winning races, medals and recognition, so I think the general public will enjoy this film. As of this writing, Town of Runners are being shown at Tribeca Film Festival, as well as limited screening in the UK. During the Tribeca Film Festival, you can also watch this film online for free (potentially for US residents only)!
I think it’s great that the fortunate and successful runners provide excellent role models in the society and give hopes and motivation to those kids. The same goes in our society, too, but it seems to me, I could be very wrong here, that their admiration is much more performance driven, rather than driven by financial rewards or material lifestyles our super stars lead. They look up to those famous star runners and train hard to become one. Many of them are motivated, pure and hungry. They do know there are economic incentives to succeed, but I assume the motivations for such success are more along the line of that they can reward their parents or so they can train on better track, rather than they drive fast cars or live in a mansion with a pool. Unfortunately, only a selected few will achieve the status of Olympian or world record holder. Even talented ones may not succeed if they are not lucky. But the kids must be, and I hope they are, learning something invaluable during the process.
The creators of this film want to spread the word to benefit the town of Bekoji – love the name, btw – where resources to train and educate those children are very scarce. So, if you read this post or see the film, be sure to re-blog, Tweet, or Facebook it. Or, better yet, help them in their fund raising, indiegogo campaign.
I stumbled upon this movie Run For Your Life in Netflix one day when I was looking for running related movies. I did not think about it much then and just threw it in my DVD queue. Boy, am I glad that I did! I am running this year’s ING New York City Marathon (2012), and thanks to the movie, I now have a totally new appreciation about the opportunity of running this crazily sought-after marathon.
This movie is about Fred Lebow, who founded New York City Marathon. Obviously, he was passionate about running, but at the same time, he was a visionary and an inspiration. He started the event in 1970 with 55 runners completing the multiple-loop course in Central Park ($1 registration fee!). In 2011, more than 47,000 runners completed, drawing more than two million spectators out on the street of New York and enticing more than 6,000 volunteers. Who knows how much bigger this marathon is going to get (Note: not all the stats are from the movie). Running legends, such as Bill Rogers, Frank Shorter, Alberto Salazar, and Grete Waitz, just to name a few, all ran the marathon and they became celebrity there. Yes, New York Marathon created these celebrities. Lebow was the driving force behind this giant growth. Sure, he was also seen as a manipulator or a dictator, but people loved to work with him and he managed to build the largest spectator sports event in the world! And one cannot be the nicest person in the world if s/he wanted to close five bridges and busy streets in all five boroughs in New York! He got the job done! This movie documents his passion to run and his endeavors to make his dream come true. A number of people who worked for, with and against him appear and many period photos and video footage are incorporated very well into the movie. If you are running New York City Marathon, this is a must see.
I’ve watched quite a few movies about running already but this is my first on this blog as a movie review per se. I will write a review from now on when I watch running related movies.