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Movie of the Month: 2008

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June 2008:

Running Film Festival
July 3rd - 5th, Eugene, Oregon

After featuring over 75 films since 2002, this month the mold is broken to share information about a great opportunity for track and field fans to take in some of the most current and well produced films at the Running Film Festival. Being held at the University of Oregon during the 2008 Olympic Track & Field Trials, this supplemental event will compliment all the action from the main venue and give a chance to relax and enjoy someShowdown great entertainment. These film will be shown during morning and evening breaks on the track to give the fan one more opportunity to realize why Eugene is considered "Track Town, USA."

In addition to the films on the big screen, there will be appearances by several of the stars, film makers, question and answer sessions, and meet and greets. Here is a listing of the titles that are scheduled to be shown, just click on the image to the right if you want to read the reviews as most of these film have previously been featured as "Movie of the Month" entries here at

Visit Running Film to purchase tickets for these shows in the following blocks:The Long Green Line
  • Screening 1A: Thursday July 3rd, 2:30PM
    The Olympic Militia. A ten minute short by Gabe Jennings, Q&A to follow.
    Big Heart, Little Lion. A five minute short by miler Leo Manzano.
    Showdown. 72 minute feature documentary.
  • Screening 1B: Thursday, July 3rd, 5:00PM
    Chasing Usain Bolt. A 15 minute sneak peak of the Jamaican Sprinter and new 100 meter World Record Holder at 9.72.
    The Long Green Line. 90 minute feature documentary, Q&A to follow.
  • Run Like Hell
  • Screening 2A: Friday, July 4th, 12:00PM
    Running for Water. A five minute short about a round the world relay.
    Run Like Hell. 45 minute feature documentary, Q&A to follow.
    Race For Kenya. 50 minute feature documentary.
    Fire on The Track: The Steve Prefontaine Story. 30 minutes from the Collector’s Edition extras.
  • Screening 2B: Friday, July 4th, 3:00PM
    Indulgence: 1000 Miles Under the Colorado Sky 45 minute feature documentary, Q&A to follow.
    The Long Road. 42 minute feature documentary about disabled athletes competing in the ING New York City Marathon, Q&A to follow.
    Run Like A Girl Run Like A Girl. 38 minute feature documentary featuring Doris Brown Heritage, Charlotte Lettis Richardson, and Camille Connelly.
  • Bonus Screening: Saturday, July 5th, 3:00PM
    Josh Cox & Ryan Hall. 5 minute short by Josh Cox.
    UltraMarathon Man. Follow Dean Karnazes as he ran the "Endurance 50", 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days.
  • Screening 3A: Saturday, July 5th, 6:00PM
    The Morning Run. 5 minute short by director Patrick Barry.
    Spirit of the Marathon Spirit of the Marathon. 103 minute feature documentary by Jon Dunham highlighting six runners including Deena Kastor.
  • Screening 3B: Saturday, July 5th, 8:30PM
    Born to Run: A Tale of Endurance. 15 minute sneak peak with Q&A to follow.
    Run For Your Life. 90 minute feature documentary on Fred Lebow by director Judd Ehrlich.
Visit the official film festival site, Running Film, to get all the current news, purchase tickets in advance, and catch all the latest updates. If the theater, Columbia 150 (a short walk northwest of Hayward Field), does not sell out in advance than you may purchase any remaining tickets at the door. Thanks to festival organizer Jake Klim who made his idea into a reality and Phil Knowlton who helped establish what films made it to the "finals". Some of the proceeds from the event will benefit the Ryan Shay Memorial fun which assists disadvantaged individuals, groups and communities, as well as American runners in financial need. Enjoy the races, enjoy the movies, and enjoy the excitement of running and track and field.

May 2008:

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Race For Kenya

Kenyan athletes have dominated the middle and long distance running events over the past two decades. In the recent listings for 2007, eight of the top ten worldwide road racing men are from Kenya, showing that this trend has continued in long distance running dominance from Kenyan athletes. This film examines many factors that are often cited in creating that athletic advantage: Altitude, group training, drugs, genetics, and opportunities. Each item is explained and then turned over to shed new and interesting perspective to the issue through extensive expert interviews.

In addition to multiple interviews, the running footage comes from a variety of settings including IAAF Golden League meets, Boston Marathon, World Cross Country Championships, as well as from the training grounds in Kenya. Here is a sampling of what some of the participants said:
  • "I learned by, you know, talking to other people and imitating other people. I also watched them while they were training." ~Kipchoge "Kip" Keino, Olympic Gold Medalist
  • "It’s daunting as a non-African/non-East African athlete in distance running now of days. I think a lot of western cultured athletes become discouraged and hence aren’t performing to the potential that they maybe do have."
    ~Bob Kennedy, USA 3000/5000m American Record Holder
  • "Not only does their muscle structure help them convert oxygen into energy better but it also means that they do not fatigue as easily as their rivals. And that’s not all, Kenyan women may be even more gifted."
    ~Professor Bengt Saltin, Muscle Biologist
  • "I can’t see it going in any direction but increased domination. There are more groups, shoe companies, and coaches in this country than ever before giving athletes more opportunities in more locations and more distances."
    ~Amby Burfoot, editor Runner’s World
Below is a listing of athletes, coaches, journalists, scientists, agents, and promotors who appear on screen to share their perspectives:
Kip Keino John Velzian Bro. Colm O’Connell Robert Hartman Moses Kiptanui
Bob Kennedy Dieter Baumann Paul Tergat Amby Burfoot Kim McDonald
John Mayock Moses Tanui Dr. Gabriele Rosa John Bicourt Hugh Jones
Curtis Pitman Professor Bengt Saltin Ank De Vlas David Okeyo Peter Njenga
John Capriati Robert Hartman Stefano Bologna Patrick Sang Svein-Arne Hansen

This 48 minute production was made possible by writer, director, and producer Pat Butcher and is now available through his website, Narration was done by Jonathon Kydd and the title track music is one of a kind by "Them Mushrooms". You may view a five minute trailer on You Tube. With the trend of exceptional athletic performance from the athletes from Kenya, it is hard to believe that this film will settle any long standing debate, however, your mind will be more open to new possibilities and any arguments you present will be more thoughtful, systematic, and scientifically based when it comes to the subject of Kenyan distance running dominance.

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April 2008:


Track & Field News
Technique and Drills for Distance/Middle Distance

This 65 minute DVD was completed in 2007 and is part of the nine part series by Track & Field News that was made by high school coaches for high school coaches and distributed by Championship Productions. The beauty of this presentation is that Coach Pat Tyson, 12 time Washington State Team Champions from Mead High School Cross Country program and former University of Oregon athlete, presents the information in a relaxed conversational manner that is both informative and easy to join along. Coaches at any level are sure to benefit from the general advice and proven record of top place finishes. The five athletes who show the skills, drills, and running are all a cohesive group that functions well on screen with primarily non-verbal cues as Coach Tyson provides the voice over. Here are the segments that are presented:
  • Stretching: A constantly engaged yoga style series of movements are explained in a progressive manner. Just by watching the semi-circle athletes you will be engaged to join in with the group and stretch along with them. The movements are not rushed and there is a strong focus on posture during this 17 minute routine. After getting the basic series down this is one segment you could use to pace yourself for a nice cool down whether at the track or in your home.
  • Core Exercises: Call it "ab work" or "gut busters", this series of 15 different core exercises takes about 17 minutes to go through the abbreviated routine (sets of 20 rather than 30 or 40 rather than 50). Like most high school programs, they use their own names for some tried and true favorites and many of the crunches are unique to this tape. Once again, it’s easy to follow along and most people will start feeling a major burning half way through this set. Four additional minutes are used for upper body strengthening with specific push up reps where you can also follow along.
  • Running Drills: The "Oregon Drill", "Sprint, Float, Sprint Drill", "1600 Meter Drill", and "30/30 Drill" are each demonstrated as coaching points are illustrated on screen. Running form is stressed as well as points of interest of the history of these drills that have been created and utilized by Bill Bowerman and Bill Dellinger. How to apply these drills within the season training program, as well as modifying the splits for a variety of athletic abilities, is also described in detail.
Filmed on a sunny summer day, this production is a joy to watch and follow along with the on-screen activities. Unlike many instructional DVDs that are slow paced or just someone talking, Coach Tyson is relaxed and effective and ties his comments directly into what the athletes are demonstrating. The production quality of this series is also high with good graphics, transitions, scene selection options, and quality music. Although there is no specific race strategies for track and cross country, with the focus on conditioning and workout choices you may find your athletes doing what the Mead High School has so frequently done, bring home another state title by focusing on the tried and true basics of athletic conditioning, teamwork, and having fun when running at a variety of intensities.

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March 2008:

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Marathon Challenge
Who will cross the finish line?

Made for NOVA by PBS station WGBH in Boston, this production is a combination of a documentary and instructional presentation that seeks to answer the question: "Can an average person on the sidewalk be transformed into an athlete crossing the finish line?" The selected participants in this study have a variety of obstacles to overcome including obesity, diabetes, HIV, heart disease, smoking, injury, grief, and a general lifestyle of inactively. Along the way a scientifically based analysis of each participant seeks to monitor and record their gains as they progress through their nine months of training. The team who guides these runners includes track coach Don Megerle of Tufts University, nutritionist Miriam Nelson, and past Boston Marathon winner Uta Pippig. Many of the athletes have never ran more than a mile and they gather each weekend for the 40 weeks to complete their long run and test their increasing level of fitness.

Although it is difficult to profile so many people in less than an hour, this show uses the experiences of the runners to highlight scientific principals that can apply to anyone who is seeking greater fitness and improved endurance. As expected from NOVA, the explanations and computer graphics are outstanding in exploring a range of components of physiology such as muscle cells, energy use, circulation, shin splints and stress fractures, evolutional changes that allow of people to run effectively, mental preparations, and these other aspects of physical health:
  • Body Composition: "What we see often now is somebody that is ideal body weight but overly fat. This happens all the time because they are simply sedentary and they haven’t used their muscles." ~Miriam Nelson, Friedman School of Nutrition
  • VO2 Max: "VO2 Max is really the measure of the person’s bodies ability to extract and utilize oxygen during exercise and it’s the best measure we have of the person’s cardiovascular or aerobic fitness" ~Roger Fielding, Tufts University
  • Bones: "Bones usually break from a single blow, but a stress fracture comes from repeated minor trauma, the kind of high impact pounding that happens in running." ~Lien Schreiber, Narrator
  • Body Weight: "When it comes to loosing weight, diet trumps exercise. Diet may be even more important that the exercise for the active weight loss component, but for eight maintenance and for the prevention of weight gain, physical activity, and a fairly high volume of physical activity, is absolutely critical." ~Miriam Nelson
  • Goals:"For many people that goal (of finishing a marathon) is important to get them kick started, but for most of the population getting out and exercising three to six times a week is what we need." ~Miriam Nelson
Originally broadcast on October 30, 2007, the DVD for home viewing became available for purchase in February 2008. You may order your copy by visiting and to learn more about each runner, their monthly training plan, and to get a glimpse into the scientific testing that captures the transformation visit The final test came during the 111th running of the Boston Marathon when this group started 30 minutes after the official qualifiers. With finishing times ranging from breaking 4 hours to exceeding 6 hours you can tell just how far these runners had traveled in transforming the way they looked at themselves and their relationship to their own body. You may find yourself cheering with the crowd as they complete their goal and then you may find yourself asking, "if they can do, can I?"

There are additional PBS broadcast times in April, 2008, so check your local listings.

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February 2008:

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1000 Miles Under the Colorado Sky

Meet ultrarunner Anton "Tony" Krupicka as he tells his story of his running and prepares for and competes in the Leadville Trail 100 mile race. In the five weeks prior to Leadville he logged 1,000 training miles. This biographical documentary is similar to the runner’s life, simple and straightforward with a bit of personality. On the screen you see a lot of trail running in some beautiful and remote locations while a soundtrack plays between interview comments. There is no narration, on screen prompts, or extra commentary; it’s mainly Tony sharing his thoughts and experiences while you see him taking on the distance in the great outdoors. You get to hear how he started running and chose to do his first marathon at age 12. Even the traditional 5K and 10K racing distances found in college seemed too short for this runner. You can really tell that he loves what he is doing and has chosen a lifestyle that he can balance with his running. You learn about his training methods and the way he looks at a variety of topics from injury to shoe modification to spending hours alone on the trail.

From the low point of wearing a boot to heal a stress fracture in his foot to watching the awards ceremony after his 16:14:35 Leadville victory, Tony shares his perceptions that shape his world. He is sponsored by La Sportiva and is a double major in philosophy and physics, so there is more going on than just piling up miles after miles. Through it all he puts in the work needed to be confident in his ability to withstand the demands that are required to attack a 100 mile race. Here are some quotes provided by the interviews:
  • "In a 100 mile race you are running all day so during training I try to recreate that over a series of days, weeks, and months of cumulative fatigue of running a lot and then getting used to feeling like crap all the time...what it comes down to is sheer mileage. I try to average four hours a day."
  • "On a lot of my shoes I end up having to slice off part of the heel in order to make the height between the fore foot and rear foot the same and the reason that does is it frees up your ankle joint to act as a cushion instead of your fat pad on your heal."
  • "I’m in this for the long haul. I want to run my entire life so I can’t constantly put in 35 hour weeks of running. I think those weeks, well maybe not necessarily for everyone, can give me a lot of confidence going into a big race."
  • "If I can get a few people to realize there’s a different way of thinking about things, both in running and life in general ... I’d be happy with that."
The DVD extras are full of a host of different perspectives that are well worth checking out and it would have been good to see many of these features inserted into the main film. There are 19 interview questions, some serious and others just for fun (and maybe best described as bloopers). There is a section on running at Colorado College, a Division III school, which has comments from head coach Ted Castaneda and some of the cross country athletes. There is also a trailers sections as well as an interview with his girlfriend, Jocelyn Jenks, who is also a runner whom you see in a supportive role during the main film. Lastly, a particularly interesting and well done section listing over 20 of the places where the filming took place (Colorado, California, Nevada, and Utah) that comes complete with the route location with elevation, and ranking for difficulty and remoteness of the trail. This film was brought to you by the crew at, the same group who released Five Thousand Meters: Nothing Comes Easy in 2004. You may visit the official website at or stop by where you can also place an order for this DVD.

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January 2008:

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Spirit of the Marathon
When you cross the finish line it will change your life forever

This film has been four years in the making by director/producer/marathoner Jon Dunham with the team of Mark Jonathan Harris (Executive Producer), Gwendolen Twist (Producer), and Sarah Levy (Cinematographer). Jon has done more research, talked to more people, and filmed more hours (on four continents) than one would expect for any typical running film. But in no way is this production your "ordinary" running film. If you have read the press releases you already know that Olympic bronze medalist and American record holder Deena Kastor stars as she goes for her first marathon victory. Five others are also featured as they line up for the 2005 LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon: Daniel Njenga (from Nyahururu, Kenya), Lori O’Connor, Ryan Bradley, Leah Caille, and Jerry Meyers.

Here are some of the on-screen experts, a virtual who’s-who of the sport, each giving their perception of the marathon:
Joan Benoit SamuelsonFrank ShorterBill Rodgers Grete WaitzPaula Radcliff
Alberto SalazarPaul TergatDick Beardsley Toshihiko SekoSara Mae Berman
Joe HendersonHal HigdonAmby Burfoot John BinghamTom Derderian
Kathrine Switzer Roger Robinson

  • "I think we are made to run. You know, we’ve got these long legs for a reason. They are made to be used and we are not forced to use our legs anymore." ~Joe Henderson
  • "It’s the perfect distance to truly test the human physiology basically because of the amount of sugar we can have in our tanks." ~Frank Shorter
  • "It’s really a very brutal distance and the slightest things can make it a great event or make it disastrous." ~Deena Kastor
  • "When I crossed that finish line I had absolutely nothing left. I was completely shot and done." ~Dick Beardsley
  • "You triumph over the adversity, that’s what the marathon is all about and therefore you know that there isn’t anything in life that you cannot triumph over after that." ~Katherine Switzer
Visit Official Website Yes, the marathon event is unique, challenging, and quite rewarding. Yet what makes the experience so special is each and every story and how lives are impacted through the experience. Whether you have set this goal for yourself, watched a loved one, or just care to take in this movie experience, you may find your perceptions shifted in some deep way. Visit Marathon for more information, to view a trailer, see biographies of the featured runners, and learn more about the awards from the Film Festivals. You may purchase this film through Marathon store as well as from

About 20 minutes of additional bonus footage is shown in the theater after the credits of the film (notice the marathon PRs listed with the credits). Deena Kaster and Ryan Hall both share brief comments about the 2008 Olympic Marathon event. Director Jon Dunham shares about how the film was made, including what methods they used to film the runners, music production, overcoming obstacles, and why Chicago was picked to be the featured marathon event. The deleted scenes with Deena cooking dinner and Daniel engaging wild hippos were both welcomed additions that continued to engage the crowd in the theater. See what other people experienced in the theater on the message board at

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