Last night I went to see the documentary Spirit of the Marathon at its one-night showing in Green Hills. I realize that this sounds like an incredibly nerdy thing to do, but when you 1) are a nerd and 2) are a marathon runner, you can have a deep appreciation for this kind of film.
It was pretty good. The movie follows a handful of people throughout their adventure of training and running the 2005 Chicago marathon, with some history about the marathon interspersed. I particularly enjoyed the part with photos of the first woman who ran Boston and her boyfriend who tackled the race official that tried to tear her number off. I also liked the part with the footage of Joan Benoit Samuelson winning the women's Olympic marathon back in the 80s. And I found out that we have the British royalty to thank for tacking on that .2 at the end of the race. I'm going to remember that during my next run.
My friend Ben who went with me made a comment before the movie that we were probably sitting in a crowd of the healthiest people in Nashville. He may be right. And then I pulled two boxes of candy out that I had snuck in inside my purse. Score.
The fun thing about watching a marathon movie in a room full of runners is that you all laugh at the same parts and understand exactly why everyone thinks it's so funny. Like the part where you saw a spectator holding a sign that says, "You're all crazy." So true. Or the part where the wife makes sure to mention as they look at race medals which race she beat her husband in. Or the part when they talk about how women seem to naturally have more endurance than men. Interesting, although when you think about the whole childbirth thing is anyone really surprised by this detail? We're made for pain. I also got a kick out of the footage of Jerry (a much older man) stopping to hug the spectators along the race path. I would so do that.
It was also really cool to get to see how some of the more elite runners train and the footage of their race. I never get to see that part since they're always a solid 2-2.5 hours ahead of me in a race. Jerry made a comment about how cool it is to run the race and know you're running in their footsteps. I honestly have never thought about that when I'm running.
We agreed after the movie that it definitely makes you want to go out and pick your next race. I know I'm planning on some half-marathons this spring, but I'm more certain than ever now that I want to do Chicago or NYC next. I just have to figure out which one to go after. Chicago registration opens next week. I also know I want to train a little bit harder... maybe I can pull off a 4:20. If I can keep it up, who knows? Maybe I'll slowly but surely, one race at a time, keep knocking off more and more... and maybe someday pull off a Boston qualification.
There haven't been any plans announced for the movie to be released in any other capacity, but if it ever turns up on video somewhere or on TV I highly recommend it. Even if you don't run, I'm sure you'll find something inspiring for your own personal challenges.