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Movie of the Month: 2008, Page 2

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December, 2008

Happy Holidays

These 2008 releases are sure to please any runner who wants to give or receive a gift this month.
Select the photos to place an order and select the title below the images to learn more about each film.

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                      The Distance of Truth. Race coverage from the Badwater 135 ultra marathon.
                      Fire on the Track. Collector's Edition about Steve Prefontaine with 210 minutes of Bonus Material.
                      The Long Green Line. About Coach Joe Newton and the York High School cross country team.
                      Run For Your Life. A feature film about New York City Marathon founder Fred Lebow.
                      Spirit of the Marathon. The theatrical hit of the year featuring five runners in the Chicago Marathon.

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November 2008:

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The Long Green Line
            A Film About Running, Teamwork, and Life

If you have never participated in, or even watched, a high school cross country race, no worry, you will love this movie. If you are a seasoned athlete, currently competing, you too will love this movie (just on a different level). Welcome to the 2005 fall cross country season where York Community High School in Elmhurst, Illinois is trying to win their 25th Cross Country Team State Championship. Join the recruiting (over 200 runners are on this team), training, meetings, race days, the state meet performance, and final celebrations. Yet best of all is every step of the way you will see the legendary coach of 50 years, Joe Newton. See how Coach Newton interacts, supports, encourages, and manages to bring his team to the line ready to run.

Quotes by Coach Newton:
  • "I love my job being around these kids and trying to turn them in the right direction. And when you turn them in the right direction you see their life change. But if I can change one life then it’s very worth my time."
  • "We are there for them and all they got to do is come out and be their best and that’s all we’re lookin’ for."
  • "We win together, we lose together and it’s like a massive family where everybody’s important to our team, and to me, and if they work hard good things will happen."
The 88 minute feature film highlights several of the runners in addition to the group who try to maintain spots in the top seven varsity positions. The insight and inspiration are vivid, in both the good and bad times encountered. Some of the athletes were removed from the team due to rule violations, and even criminal charges, which put a strain on the team. In addition, some of the most inspirational athletes influenced the group from the back of the pack during the meets. Be sure to also examine the 34 bonus clips found in the "special features" where many other lessons are gleaned from both athletes and coaches including Sebastian Coe, Joe Vigil, Arthur Lydiard, Jim Bush, Ryan Shay, and assistant coach Charlie Kern.

"Thoughts of the Day" by Coach Newton:
  • "The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready when the opportunity comes."
  • "Do the best you can with what you got where you’re at."
  • "It’s nice to be great but far greater to be nice."
  • "Your mind can make you train, your body can create power, but only your heart can
    make you a champion."
This film was directed and produced by Matthew Arnold and premiered in Chicago in April 2008. It was also highlighted at the Running Film Festival in Eugene, Oregon during the 2008 United States Track and Field Trials. You may currently order the DVD at Learn more about this film, sign up for the mailing list, and view a variety of sample clips at the official website:

Honors by Coach Newton (2008):Click to Enlarge
  • 53 years of coaching
  • 26 Illinois State Cross Country Team Championships
  • 1988 United States Olympic Track Coach
  • US Track Coaches Hall of Fame
  • US Track and Field Coaches Hall of Fame
  • Northwestern University Hall of Fame
  • National High School Hall of Fame
  • Gatorade Coaches Hall of Fame

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October 2008:

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Beijing 2008 Highlights
The Games of the XXIX Olympiad

Released by NBC Sports on September 30th, this is 91 minutes of Olympic Highlights. This DVD contains 24 chapters, eight of which are running events from the Bird’s Nest. Other events include women’s gymnastics (Nastia Luikin & Shawn Johnson), Michael Phelps in swimming competition, the beach volleyball team of Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor, and about 6 minutes of the opening ceremony that was directed by filmmaker Zhang Yimou. Below is a breakdown of the running events (all footage is finals) in the order which they appear followed by the amount of time (about 36 minutes total) used to cover that specific race.
  • Men’s 400 Hurdles: (2:35) Angelo Taylor runs a personal best 47.26 for the gold leading a United States sweep. Full names and lane assignments are shown on screen in addition to a replay of the final hurdle of this race.
  • Women’s 100 High Hurdles: (1:31) Lolo Jones is mentioned before the gun sounds. The lane assignments consist of the last name and country flag on the track and it is 24 year old Dawn Harper from lane six who is able to run a clean race for victory. No times are mentioned as disbelief is the lasting emotion.
  • Men’s 400 Meters: (3:36) After a false start, the focus is on Jeremy Wariner before LaShawn Merritt runs away from the field in the last 100 meters. Merritt’s 43.75 is a personal best and makes him the fifth fastest quarter miler of all time. The United States sweeps with Wariner in second and David Neville diving at the line for the bronze.
  • Men’s 4x400 Relay: (7:59) Individual lane assignments are provided with each of the four athletes named on screen. The US team of Merritt (44.0), Taylor (43.9), Neville (44.1), and Wariner post a new Olympic Record of 2:55.39 as they run clear of the rest of the field making this the 18th Olympic victory for the United States in this relay.
  • Women’s 4x400 Relay: (7:40) Complete lane assignments are also provided in this women’s race that is competitive to the end. The United States team of Mary Wineberg, Allyson Felix (48.7), Monique Henderson, and Sanya Richards (48.9) battle with the Russian team yet put ahead in the final strides to win in 3:18.55.
  • Men’s 100 Meter (2:53) With few introductions, the gun sounds and Usain Bolt of Jamaica leaves the field for a new world record of 9.69 seconds. More time is spent on his gathering with his family than the actual running of this record setting race.
  • Men’s 200 Meter (7:20) Full introductions of each lane takes over four minutes of this coverage. Bolt is in lane five and running into a headwind he remains focused through the tape for a new world record of 19.30. There is no discussion of any lane violations or disqualifications that changed other podium positions. The initial camera angle shows curve running from the outside of the track as well as some of the home stretch from the side. This entire race is shown again with the one camera positioned near the finish line focused only on Bolt throughout his entire race.
  • Men’s 4x100 Relay (3:35) The Jamaican team breaks the 1992 world record by .3 seconds by running 37.10 in the final. With Bolt on the third leg, he runs up on Asafa Powell before they blow away the rest of the field. After the team poses for celebration photos, the three handoffs are again repeated showing that this record could easily dip below 37 seconds with more fluid passes.
All United States gold medal track races were covered, as well as each of the three world record races posted on the track. The only field event shown was the women’s discus where Stephanie Brown Trafton wins with her first round throw of 212-5. What is not shown are any interviews, awards stand moments, or complete listings of results. It is unfortunate that a post production release does not insert the final place positions and finishing times of all the competitors who participate in the finals of these races (at least as a separate bonus feature). The menu does allow you to select individual races, although it returns to the menu after each race rather than continuing to play the next chapter.

If you want to own this DVD production, place your order at or directly from the NBC Store. Note that the NBC Universal store will only ship within the United States and a credit card is needed to complete your purchase (PayPal is not accepted).

September 2008:

Order at Run Like A Girl

Run Like A Girl
A film about three generations of women distance runners

This documentary can perhaps be described best as a labor of love. This production was produced, directed, and edited by Charlotte Lettis Richardson over a five year period as she completed her Certificate in Film Production from the Northwest Film Institute. The package is complete with original music and never before seen footage from over 40 years of women stepping forward on the running scene. Released in 2005, the DVD is under the authority of "Fast Girl Productions" and can be obtained through their official motion picture web site, Run Like A Girl, where you can also view a fascinating timeline to the history of women’s running.

The main theme examines how running has developed and changed for women over the past 40+ years and it illustrates the movement by featuring three athletes from three different eras. Although their stories are interwoven on screen (with artistic use of archived footage, still images, and superimposed layers of information) here is a brief look at each individual runner:
  • Doris Brown Heritage: Beginning her running in the late 1950’s was an unusual thing for that time period as women were restricted by the discrimination present in the rules of the day. Girls were not even allowed to use the track facilities much less the need to overcome the obstacles of uniforms, transportation, and just having meets that allowed women to compete were often difficult to find. Although training techniques were not well know, Doris set records on the track, qualified and competed in Olympic competitions, and won several World Cross Country titles over the course of her athletic career. She reflects back years later to the meaning of her athletic accomplishments: "I’m not a valuable person because I ran fast, because I had a world record, but it helped me to have faith in myself so that I could go into other areas of life and put myself out on a scary edge."
  • Charlotte Lettis Richardson: When Charlotte started competing in the early 1970’s, there was "Resistance at every turn. In races we are often laughed at by spectators on the sidelines. Often there is no recognition at the end of the race that we had even finished." In 1972 there was "great hope" when Title IX was passed by congress, yet the affects of this legislation would not be seen until 1975. From a grass roots movement grew a changing structure that acknowledged and promoted women’s only events and opportunities that had never been realized before. Charlotte acknowledges that "In some ways I think sports teaches people how to do hard things. Probably the losing was the place where I learned the most about myself. In the end the running was merely just a mirror to the rest of my life. A way of simplifying and finding out what was already there."
  • Camille Connelly: Growing up in the 80’s, Camille saw women training and competing in a variety of venues. She even participated in local road races as a child with her family. Athletics and running were a way to have fun, form relationships with others, and be a part of a group. Now as a high school senior, she wants to train hard, compete to the fullest, and progress into the collegiate system on an athletic scholarship. She points out: "I want to take every opportunity and make the best of it. When I cross the finish line I want to be on the point of collapse. As a women, I believe that women should be in sports. I believe that I belong here."
I would expect this film to be routinely shown in high school and college level classroom settings in courses such as Women’s Studies and Contemporary Issues in Sports. With a running time of 40 minutes, it is a good length for a classroom introduction and discussion to follow. Yet my hope is that this documentary will be introduced far beyond institutional settings and will be widely seen by all people, men and women, athletic or not. People benefit in numerous ways, both internal and external, from various aspects of running, and taking the time to see this film will allow further growth in our individual journeys. As Charlotte states: "Most important, I learned that there is always another race or another chance to get things right. If you don’t get it right the first time you can always try again."

Postscript: This film was featured at the Running Film Festival held in Eugene, Oregon during the US Track & Field Trials. Doris Brown Heritage and Charlotte Lettis Richardson both made appearances and answered questions following the show. &f you would like to win this film, enter the Monthly Give Away

August 2008:

Order at JourneyFilm.comClick to Enlarge

Dean Karnazes is
UltraMarathon Man
50 Marathons · 50 States · 50 Days

Here is your chance to witness a testimony of running, travel, and all that the human spirit can endure. You will see well known ultramarathon runner Dean Karnazes takes on the challenge of running a marathon daily in each of the 50 states on consecutive days. You may have recalled when he set out on September 17th, 2006 from St. Charles Missouri on this journey and was joined daily by a new crowd in a new city each day to run alongside. This 102 minute feature film captures many of the highlights from these events as well as gives you a behind the scene look Dean and the activities that surround this event.

Dean tells his personal tale of experiencing a "midlife crisis" on his 30th birthday and how that started his running that led to his bestselling book, UltraMarathon Man. This current adventure grew from the original concept of a family vacation and his parents, wife, and son are all featured at various times along the route. A crew from North Face provided daily support and there is also physical testing along the way to see how the body responds to such daily vigorous activity. The heart of this story are the people, both young and old, who are motivated to get active, seek a goal, and give it their all to reach the finish line.

Some of the interesting aspects found in this film are the people traveling from other countries to run with Dean, the sometimes harsh conditions (heat, cold, rain, wind, traffic, crowds, wildlife, and physical injury) that must be overcome, and the power of personal relationships that bind individuals and communities together through a common thread.

Quotes by Dean Karnazes:
  • "This is about inclusion, uniting people, and health."
  • "I’m going to live every second of my life the best that I can to honor my sister."
  • "You were wondering when this would become a struggle- we just crossed the line."
  • "Follow your heart; do what you love. The hardest thing for people to do is take that leap of faith."
Each state is covered in the order which the marathon occurred. Most of the story is captured in the first portion of the film with the first 20 marathons taking 70% of the total time. About seven minutes is used to cover his last event, the New York City marathon, which he finished in his fastest time of three hours. Amazingly, the 154 pound Karnazes was able to maintain his body weight, persevere the media attention, and after raising 100,000 for Karno Kids, he began his trek back home (by foot of course).

This film was directed by JB Benna, who also completed The Runner: Extreme UltraRunner David Horton in 2006. Over 130 hours of footage was taken and what you see is a well told story that is weaved together by the musical score of Cody Westeimer. Hopefully you will make a chance to see it in the theater, yet if you are unable to make the show you may learn more by reading the latest book, 50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days -- and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance! which will be released August 18, 2008. Visit the official website at and look for the home DVD version of UltraMarathon Man to be released in November 2008.

July 2008:

Order DVD at Amazon.comClick to Enlarge

Collector’s Edition
Fire on the Track: The Steve Prefontaine Story

How could Chambers Productions improve upon the #1 ranked running movie listed at this site? By releasing a 2 disc DVD Collector’s Edition, of course! Now is your chance to update from the 1995 VHS version to a superbly mastered DVD. Since the main 58 minute film was featured back in January 2003, this description will be taking a closer look at the 210 minutes of Bonus Material that is broken into six sections:

Pre’s Trail: Covering a little over three minutes, in this segment you will be introduced to the Oregon Track Club and Chairman Geoffrey Hughes of the Trails restoration project. Learn about the 4.7 miles of running trails in Alton Baker Park that make up the Prefontaine Trail. Truly a community based project it is a location for recreational runners as well as a training tool used by the 2007 National Champion Oregon Duck Cross Country team.

In Depth Interviews: Taken from the 1995 filming, these are broken into 3 categories, with each candid conversation segmented and indexed into talking points. There are also extensive written biographies on each person from their date of birth, accomplishments, notable milestones, and current events and interests. Graphics, archival photos, and moving images are interspersed in each interview and you never know when you will be surprised by another piece of footage that had previously not been released. Keep your remote handy as you view these interviews as there is no "play all" function in this section and you will need to select each story individually.
  • Coaches/Nike: Bill Bowerman (with Kenny Moore & Geoff Hollister, 16:07 minutes), Bill Dellinger (11:30), Phil Knight (6:47), Geoff Hollister (7:11, who did not appear in the ’95 release), and Jeff Johnson (9:15).
  • Competitors: Jon Anderson (7:35 minutes), David Bedford (7:05), Dick Buerkle (6:14), Brendan Foster (5:19), Arne Kvalheim (5:57), and Ian Stewart (5:46).
  • Friends/Fans: Dana Carvey (12:29 minutes), Jeff Galloway (8:06), Kenny Moore (12:50), Alberto Salazar (6:06), Mary Slaney (10:35), Frank Shorter (11:24), Jaakko Tuominen (14:28), Pat Tyson (8:25), Mac Wilkins (9:59), and Dave Wottle (11:07).
History of Hayward Field: Lasting almost six minutes, this section provides a nice overview of the legendary coaching staff since 1904 with Bill Hayward, Bill Bowerman, Bill Dellinger, and Tom Heinenin. It also shows how this field has hosted several Olympic Trials, NCAA Championships, and the best competition each year on American soil, the Prefontaine Classic. Now "that is Track Town, USA."

Pre’s Personal Marks: See how many Collegiate, American, and other special milestones were captured during Pre’s career as well as the date and location of each of his personal best marks.

Quotes: Eleven quotes can be seen on screen in this section. Here are four of Pre’s most popular quotes that have each been captured in the posters seen below:
  • "Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it."
  • "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift."
  • "I’m going to work so that it’s a pure guts race at the end, and if it is, I am the only one who can win it."
  • "A lot of people run a race to see who is the fastest. I run to see who has the most guts."
Select the above posters if you want to order these items from

Bowerman on Running Shoes: In this 12 minute segment join Bill Bowerman, with Kenny Moore and Geoff Hollister, as they discuss shoes and tell stories of shoemaking and the athletes that demanded the best. Learn about weight reduction, heal counters, the one piece toe, and the spike plate. Also hear stories about Prefontaine and Otis Davis in relation to each of their Olympic experiences. Bill always strived for improvement, whether developing shoes or track surfaces, and he states "Give him the best equipment you have."

This Collector’s Edition DVD set can be obtained directly from or from It is clear that the readers got it right when voting this the best running movie and with all these extras let the victory lap celebration now begin.

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