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Award Winners The Hollywood "Stars"      Movie Details Sports Illustrated
Confronting Obstacles     Hurdling Movie Facts Treadmill Running
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Hayward Field Motivating your Team Rated R Movies      Ultra Running

Award Winners

Read Film Description Here is a sampling of running movies that have brought home some gold medal of their own. Three of these films have been awarded best picture (count it four if you want to name the 1976 best film, Rocky, that I have yet to list on this site) and have taken home the Oscar statue. Film festivals and television awards are also represented in this chronological list:

Confronting Obstacles

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Hayward Field:

Congratulations to Eugene, Oregon for being selected as the 2008 US Track & Field host city. All eyes will be focused on Hayward Field at the University of Oregon during the week of June 27th to July 6th, 2008. Known as the "Carnegie Hall" of track and field, and located in "Track Town, USA", this venue has hosted three past Olympic Trials in 1972, 1976, and 1980. The Nike Prefontaine Classic, the most prestigious invitational track meet in the country, has also been held here each summer. To see images of this historic facility, view some of the following films that have been produced there:

Hollywood "Stars"

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Although these are specific tapes that cover the hurdling events, don't forget to check out official Olympic coverage videos to see athletes who competed for the Gold. These 21 titles should give you a good start to improving conditioning and technique to this specialty running event: If your interest is more into being entertained than instructed than you may enjoy watching Mariel Hemingway as a pentathlete who tries her best at hurdling in the 1982 release Personal Best or see the 1996 biographical movie about hurdle great Gail Devers (played by Charlayne Woodard) entitled Run for the Dream: The Gail Devers Story, although the focus here is on her overcoming Graves’ Disease and her ability to return to the track for the 100 meter sprint event in Barcelona. Another outstanding resource for you can be found at

Made for TV or Cable

Read Film Description The 1974 story of football players Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo entitled Brian’s Song started a wave of made for television movies that were not intended to be shown in the theater. Movies about running were also made as you can see by these listings, in chronological order, along with the person who played the starring role:

Motivating your Team

Many coaches have written to ask what film they should show their cross country or track teams to motivate them in their training or racing. Whatever film you choose to show I would suggest previewing it before showing it to your team, and for the greatest benefit it is wise to facilitate a discussion following the movie. Since many club teams have athletes participating from the early age of eight, included are some aspects that the younger viewers may have questions about. These six films are a starting place and I welcome feedback on your team’s reactions, especially if you have tried a film successfully with your program.

Movie Details

Like many runners, you may find yourself being precise and somewhat critical of your athletic efforts. In the movie business they try paying attention to the smallest details to make their film accurate, although sometimes they fall short. At they maintain a database of errors where viewers point out mistakes made on the big screen. Editing, special effects, historical correctness, weaponry, and scientific facts are all pointed out in the smallest detail. There is also an opportunity to refute the "nitpicks". The 1997 award winning film Titanic leads their list with about 400 items picked. Be careful not to blink when you watch your next running movie, for you may miss seeing something that maybe wasn't intended in the first place. The following running movies have been "nitpicked":
  • Chariots of Fire Historical facts, editing (5 reported)
  • What happened to the note during the 400 meter race?
  • Forrest Gump Historical facts, editing (38 reported)
  • What products really existed at that time, anyway?
  • Higher Learning Editing (1 reported)
  • Watch for the "changing blood".
  • Meatballs Editing (10 reported)
  • How should someone act if they hurt their ankle?
  • The Naked Prey Special effects (2 reported)
  • How alone and nude is he really?
  • Run Lola Run Editing, special effects, weaponry (8 reported)
  • How many rounds can you shoot without any bullets?
  • Without Limits Editing (1 reported)
  • How can Bowerman talk to Prefontaine without moving his lips?

Movie Facts

  • Chariots of Fire Won four Academy Awards in 1981: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Costume Design, and Best Original Score.
  • The Great American Foot Race 2002, covers the longest running event. In 1928, only 55 men finished the 84-day race that spanned 3,422-miles, primarily on U.S. Highway Route 66.
  • The Loneliest Runner This 1976 film, written produced and directed by Michael Landon, is the only one on this list that can be downloaded and watched in its entirety.
  • Olympia The two part film by Leni Riefenstahl of the 1936 Berlin Olympics has seven different cover art images.
  • Olympic Cowboy Bob Hayes is the only person to have earned both an Olympic Gold medal and a NFL Superbowl ring.
  • Race For Kenya This 2001 documentary is still needing a distributor to make this film more accessible.
  • Run Lola Run This 1998 feature from Germany has has more than 150 reviews, including five different languages.
  • USATF Development Tape Series These instructional tapes have been made since 1988 and copying is permitted for developmental purposes.

Olympic Films

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Ever since the Olympic games were captured on film there has been some debate as to what title stands above them all. It September 2000, Michael Sragow wrote an article entitled "The Olympics and the Movies" ranking his three favorite Olympic films of all time. Although I agree with his conclusions of who should be on the award stands I would change the second and third place winners. Here are the top Olympic films, with the titles linking to descriptions at this site where you can find ordering information, if available.

The Medalists:
  • Tokyo Olympiad The criterion collection DVD is absolutely superb with hours of footage, commentary, interviews, and outstanding Olympic performances from 1964.
  • Visions of Eight From eight different countries the eight directors came to capture events from Munich in 1972. This is a stunning presentation.
  • Olympia: Part One- Festival of the People and Olympia: Part Two- Festival of Beauty This influential film from 1936 Berlin was directed and edited by Leni Riefenstahl. This film's influences on documentary film making are wide reaching far beyond movies involving athletics.
Other Finalists:

Rated R Movies

The top grossing R-rated film of all time was Beverly Hills Cop (1984) that brought home $235 million. With The Matrix Reloaded taking $232.7 million in the first three weeks of release in Summer of 2003, the past record is sure to fall after 19 years. (Note: After 11 weeks in release the gross totals $276.2) In 2002 the top grossing R-rated film (8 Mile) ranked 23rd on the list of films for the year. It should be no surprise that the film industry hasn’t produced very many films with a running theme that have an "R" attached. Even Across the Tracks has been released in an edited PG-13 version in order to try to obtain a larger market reach. If you have questions about the movie rating system that started November 1, 1968 (or if you want to check a title) visit If you are wanting to find, or avoid, some feature films that make up this rating (strong language, violence, or sexual content) then take notice of the following running movies:

Sports Illustrated

At your local news stand you can pick up the August 4, 2003 Sports Illustrated magazine that has a feature article ranking The 50 Greatest Sports Movies of all Time! This is not the first time the sports writers have compiled such a list as they printed their Top 20 Sports Movies list in their February 6, 2001 issue. There are 4 films from the 2001 listing that were not included in the top 50 ranking in 2003. Although Chariots of Fire dropped two spots over the last two years to # 9, Leni Riefenstahl’s documentary, Olympia, makes it’s debut on their list coming in at # 7. If you feel that movies that involve running are underrepresented, complete their form: React: What’s No. 1 in your book? There are many other articles posted on their web site such as They’re No. 1 written by Dan George who ranks 20 sports including Auto Racing, Horse Racing, Billiards, Martial Arts, Bodybuilding, Surfing, and Gymnastics in addition to the more well knows competitions. The closest running comes to being mentioned is in the Summer Olympic category where Chariots of Fire is ranked # 1. Below are links to the Sports Illustrated articles that discuss films related to running and by selecting the movie titles you will link to more information from about that particular film:

The 50 Greatest Sports Movies of all Time! (only the top ten are listed on line, get the magazine to read all 50 choices):
#7. Olympia (1936)
#9. Chariots of Fire (1981)
#36. Million Dollar Legs (1932)

They're No. 1:
Chariots of Fire (1981)
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)
Personal Best (1982)
Prefontaine (1997)
Without Limits (1998)

Good Sports, Too:
Forrest Gump (1994)

Virtual Reality:
Olympia (1936)
The Olympiad (1976)

Shoulda Been Contenders:
Without Limits (1998)

Hidden Treasures:
Million Dollar Legs (1932)
The Games (1970)
Endurance (1998)

Treadmill Running

There are many reason why someone may prefer running indoors. Perhaps the weather is severe with frozen rain or extensive amounts of snow and cold, or maybe you need to stay close to home with a new baby in the home. Who knows, maybe you may even want to pursue the treadmill marathon world record set on December 11, 2004 by Michael Wardian, of Arlington, Virginia, (2:23:58) that exceeded Josh Cox’s 2:31:04, set at the Boston Marathon pre-race expo on April 17, 2004. Whatever the reason, if you need a bit of extra motivation to get in some training on your treadmill then you may want to consider one of the following videos to guide you:


Have you trained in the movies as much as you have trained your body to run? You must answer each question correctly to move up in distance. You may find many more trivia questions on the Popular Film Trivia Page (where you can answer them in any order). Good luck and have fun!

Ultra Running

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