Be Prepared To Do Something Awesome

Several months ago (December to be exact), my friend Carolyn offered up a review of the 2007 documentary Spirit of the Marathon. After reading her review, I added this documentary to my ever-growing list of movies I wanted – nay – had to see.

And here we are, 6 months later and I have finally sat down and watched it. I wish I had made the time sooner. I loved this documentary. After watching it, I felt like running another marathon – which probably means that signing up for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October was the right thing to do.

Actually, after watching this, I may have felt like taking over a small country. The movie was motivational, inspiring, and having just run a marathon, a bit cathartic. No, I didn’t cry as I watched the individuals followed in the documentary as they crossed the finish line – but I did get excited and goosebumpy, and maybe, perhaps, I might have also become a little verklempt. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Mike Myers does an excellent job of demonstrating it.

The documentary follows several different people from all levels of physical fitness; new runners, seasoned runners, and also two amazing elite runners. You know, elite as in someone who can run a marathon in under 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Think about that.

Elite runners pace themselves such that they can run 42.2 km in 2 hours and 30 minutes (or less – in many cases, much less; the world record is 2:03:59 for men and 2:15:25 for women). That means they can run 1 km in approximately 3 minutes and 33 seconds. For the world record, that pace becomes approximately 2 minutes 56 seconds for men, and 3 minutes 12.5 seconds for women. I don’t think I could run that pace even if I were being chased by a pack of zombies and wild rabid dogs. And these runners hold that pace for 42.2 km. Insane!

Photos from Katherine's website. Here you see the race officials trying to remove her from the race, only to be checked by another runner (Thomas Miller)

What did I take from this documentary? Well, clearly people can do anything they set their mind to. And in all honesty, if I can run a marathon, anyone can.

Additionally, I had no idea that women were excluded from marathons at one time because of some unfounded notion that they were too ‘dainty’ to complete the race. I also had no idea that Katherine Switzer ended that by signing up for the Boston marathon using her initials (thus tricking the organizers into thinking she was a man). I also did not know that while running the Boston marathon, the race officials (specifically Jock Semple) tried to physically remove her from the race. She of course continued to run and finish the race in 4 hours 20 minutes (although Jock Semple disqualified her after the attempted-removal).

Seriously, how can you not be inspired by that?

I was also inspired by watching the story of Deena Kastor, an elite American runner who won bronze in the 2004 Olympics. She is shown in the documentary dealing with a foot injury which was not the result of running, but from twisting her ankle stepping on a pine cone! I won’t lie – I was on the edge of my seat watching her as she attempted to win her first marathon. My heart was actually racing as I sat there hoping she had enough gas in her tank to beat out the runner just behind her (who was gaining). And this was for a race that is now part of the history books. Awesome!

Anyway, even if you aren’t a runner, I highly recommend this documentary. I’ve attached the preview below, and you can find more information about the documentary here. Now go grab some popcorn and watch it. But be prepared to feel the need to go do something awesome afterward. Consider yourself duly warned.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Carolyn says:

    Confession: I totally cried. Thankfully I was alone. Unless you count my vodka & stuffed koala.

    1. dangillis says:

      I count both the vodka and the stuffed koala. But thankfully, both are known for their ability to keep a secret 🙂

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