This year I’ve begun putting in a ton more treadmill time than desired in order to get my share of climbing / vertical mileage because let’s face it, Myrtle Beach is FLAT. I refuse to let me hometown topography put me at a disadvantage, even if it means sacrificing trail time for treadmill time.
I know, it’s blasphemy.
To pass the time, I’ve taken to watching documentaries on YouTube. Immersing yourself in the beautiful views of Chamonix, Squaw, Silverton, etc. is a wonderful distraction. A few of my friends in the Northeast who will also be sequestered to treadmills over the winter asked me to put together a few of my favorite videos. I can – and will – make a bunch of blog posts covering all the documentaries I’ve watched, but here’s the first one.
Warning, it contains a ton of Western States videos. I’m not sure why that’s SUCH a popular race to film, but it is. And I’m OK with that.
Never Die Easy -The ‘Most Elusive’ Man in North America
Dag Aabye is a septuagenarian Ultra Marathon champion who lives completely off the grid. Two filmmakers track him down and create this mini documentary. Stay with the slow start, 8 minutes in will give you chills. And Dag’s advice about how to live life is absolutely inspiring.
The Unknown – The Hardrock 100 (Billy Yang Films)
Look at those mountain views. LOOK AT THEM! I need to go back to Colorado…
Wildcard: The Story of Western States F7
Who doesn’t love a story of a mostly unknown, an underdog, the wildcard?
Where Dreams Go to Die (Ginger Runner)
Most of you have already heard the story about the time Gary Robbins missed finishing the Barkley Marathons by 6 seconds (after 60 hours) . But actually seeing the footage from that (almost) finish will make you cry. Or at least it made me cry.
The Triple Crown of 200’s
Can you wrap your mind around running 200 miles at once? Neither can. But try this: wrap your mind around running THREE 200 mile races over 2 months time. That’s the Triple Crown of 200s. This short film chronicles Team Altra Employee, Mike McKnight, during his pursuit of finishing Bigfoot 200, Tahoe 200, and Moab 240.
Found on 49
First of all, let’s all take a moment to talk about Jim Walmsley’s incredible running form and stride. Even 60 freaking miles into a 100 miler. But this is another documentary that ends in heartbreak…and it might make you cry (I’m such a sap). Regardless, Walmsley’s poise and humble attitude despite a really unlucky turn of events (pun intended) is inspiring.
Paul Braa – Western States 100
After watching endless documentaries about elites running Western States, it’s nice to watch the “average joes” getting it done. I stumbled upon this one while falling down the rabbit hole of YouTube, and I just loved it. Not only is the soundtrack awesome, but Paul Braa’s enthusiasm about finally making it to the race of his dreams is contagious.
Another quick look at Hardrock 100. Kroger’s Canteen – an aid station perched on a tiny ledge, 13,100ft above sea level. The volunteers at this aid station are as badass as the runners!
Western Time (Billy Yang Films)
Sally McRae is one of the most relatable athletes I’ve ever come across. Except, of course, for the fact that she can run 100 miles faster than I could ever dream of. This documentary will get you right in the feels.
The 100 Mile King
A fun and lighthearted film about the incredible and inspirational 29 hour run of the oldest finisher in Western States Endurance Run history, Nick Bassett. I can only hope to still be running, never mind running sub 30 hour 100 milers, at his age!
So there’s your first ten. Stay tuned for another post in the future with more videos!
Do you have a favorite trail or ultra film or documentary? Comment below, so I can check it out!