If you have ever wanted to know more about the American distance runners, who are striving to compete with the world, than this is your golden opportunity to glance "behind the scenes" and meet these athletes. A small group of filmmakers from Colorado College, led by producer Carl Leivers and director Brennan Galloway, formed Negative Split Pictures and have stepped forward in assembling this 100-minute film about the 5,000 meter track event. The crew filmed in California, Colorado, Michigan and Oregon throughout the summer of 2004, culminating with the United States Olympic Trials in Sacramento to select the Olympic squad. For a low budget first film, produced in a rapid-fire time frame, this production is an amazing accomplishment.
This film introduces the nine primary athletes and them follows them through their training and racing to obtain one of the 24 slots in the trials by running the Trials B standard time of 13:48. From the Mt. Sac Relays in Walnut California 13 weeks prior to the trials you will journey week by week through competitions at the Adidas Track Classic, inner squad time trials, Prefontaine Classic, and discussions of races in Europe, as they try to peak at just the right time in quest of the elusive Olympic "A Standard" of 13:21.50. As narrator Tom Roper states "The standard is non-flexible or open to negotiation."
Quotes, as presented by each featured runner:
Bolota Asmerom: "I’ve got some work to do, but I’ll take it. This was a great start for me."
Ryan Bak: "It was a PR, not by much, but it was easier then other 1500s."
Tim Broe: "I’m glad it all came together."
Adam Goucher: "I’m going to go over there and run my ass off and see what happens."
Matt Lane: "It was the second fastest 5k in my career so I have to take that as a positive."
Mark Menefee: "I'm happy to be a sub 13:40 guy now."
Jonathon Riley: "I was just happy to get that kind of performance in and it’s just really exciting for me."
Dathan Ritzenhein: "I think I’m really fit and ready for a fast five."
Jorge Torres: "Anytime it’s a personal record it’s a good time."
Mixed with interviews, both before and after competition, you get a true documentary feel of being there and coping with the outcomes. On several occasions these athletes went into the race with high expectations of their fitness, however, when the times did not meet their goals the disappointment was apparent. As Goucher expressed "I got anaerobic too soon, too quick. I laid it on the line too soon and I paid the price." Many athletes struggle, yet the hopes remain high as training continues as each focuses on their goals.
The climax of this film is at the Olympic Trials where most of the athletes advance to the finals four days after the qualifying round is shown. What a thrill to set back and watch the final develop, lap by lap, with the stadium announcer clearly calling the lap splits, kilometer splits, and changing positions at the front of the pack. The crowd does all they can to help the athletes and your adrenaline will be flowing as you watch them compete. Unfortunately, after the race the rules of the team selection were not very clear and it is comical to hear many of the athletes describe possible scenarios for the Olympic Team using such words as "confusing", "screwy", and "retarded".
To read more about this production visit the official film web site at Five Thousand Meters.com. You can view a short trailer, read additional athlete information, see more photos, listen to some of the music, and scan the latest news releases. You may also place your Order at this site for a DVD version of this revealing production as well as see what running stores may be carrying it in your area. On the disc you will find two trailers, an outtake section, and "The Tim and Ron Show" where Tim Broe and his coach Ron Warhurst engage in some enjoyable banter. Now stop reading this and go place your order for this film as you will want to watch this one again and again.