October 30, 2008

Spirit of the Marathon - I finally watched it!!!

Early this year (on Feb 21st) I'd expressed my desire to watch this movie Spirit of the Marathon. I had to wait for 8 long months to get this opportunity. And, a BIG Thanks to my running pal Shahid for having shared the DVD that he recently got his hands on.

Yes, I finally got to watch this movie. I would paraphrase the movie as an Inspiration Bomb to a wannabe marathoner (or, any sportsman). 'Spirit of the Marathon' is truly first of its kind in more than one way -
  • This movie has no actors - there are only runners....including the director Jon Dunham!
  • This movie is not targeted at a commercial audience
  • It's a non-fictional movie -Yes! All characters are real, and they did run the Chicago (and, you get to see it too!) marathon
  • This is not a movie with superheroes! This movie shows mere mortals - first-time marathoners, serial marathoners, Boston aspirants and the world record holders - All of them in one movie!
  • What you see is the reality - Nothing is an act
I foung the Spirit in the movie title to be the key. The movie brilliantly exemplifies the capacity of a group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common purpose - Run a marathon (specifically the Chicago one). This brings out the "Spirit" (as in Esprit de corps) of the marathon.

The movie shows the first-timers on one side and the champions like Amby Burfoot, Deena Kastor, Daniel Njenga on the other side. Jon has beautifully brought out the message that different people run for different reasons. While Leah takes up the sport of running to get over from a broken marriage, Deena (a 2004 Olympic Bronz medalist) runs to win the race. Different people have different reasons to run a marathon - But the result is the same - It increases your self esteem and sets in the sense of accomplishment....of doing something that not most of the world's population does not dare to do - Running a Marathon!

To me, the Spirit in the movie title is like the "Spirit" (sometimes used interchangeably with the word soul). The movie infused a powershot of super-high inspiration and energy into my body and mind, that I felt like I was possessed!

Not sure if this sort of a feeling is because of my love for running or the injury-driven force that has kept me away from the road for a long time now. With my knee pain really nagging me even during a couple of runs last week, I have been a bit depressed.

But I really don't know what took me by force yesterday when I got this DVD home. I set out for an evening 6K run and returned with absolute zero discomfort! This was not a one-time occurrence. I did a pain-free 6K today too! So, yesterday it was the power of possessing a copy of Spirit of the Marathon DVD, and today it was the power of having watched the movie?!!?!

The movie is a very comprehensive one. The Telly Award winner and marathon runner Jon Dunham has covered every single aspect of running a marathon in this movie. From training, to injuries, to family management, to diet, the director has very nicely brought out the nuances from every perspective. He has also covered the pre-race-day preparation! (what to pack before you leave to the starting point).

Overall, this movie is a MUST WATCH! I would strongly recommend any wannabe marathoner (or, any sportsman) to watch this movie. Even non-runners who have always wanted to do something big and achieve something big should watch this movie! The picture on the DVD wrapper (picture on the left) has the finish line depicted with the following lines -
When you cross the finish line, it will change your life forever

Stay Inspired!
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