Have you ever wondered what kind of person chooses to run 100 miles just for fun and how the running community gathers to support an ultramarathon event? This 75 minute documentary from the 2006 running of the Massanutten Mountain Trail 100 gives a special insight into these issues through two of the participants of the 151 runners who start this ultramarathon adventure. Gary Knipling, the 62 year old Virginia Happy Trails Running Club member, is seeking his tenth finish on his "home course". His personality encompasses the word outgoing and he reaches out and involves everyone whom he comes into contact. The ultrarunning community is often a close group, and Gary is the type of person who meets and involves everyone during his race experience. 43 year old Kerry Owens returns to this course for the third time, seeking an improvement in her previous performances. Although two runners are featured, many other participants, volunteers, pacers, and event staff also share their experiences with the race.
From registration to the awards ceremony, the weekend is well recorded. If this is an event where you have competed, or plan in the future to attempt, this DVD would be a great tool to see how this event, and many other well organized ultras, feel over the 36 hour time frame. Most of the footage is taken near the aid station checkpoints, allowing well over a dozen glimpses into the progress and struggles of each runner. The course had to be altered a bit for this event because of a forest fire just a week prior to the start, yet that did not take any of the excitement or drama out of the task at hand.
"Ultrarunning is not only a hobby but its sort of become almost a way of life with the friends I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had out on the trail." ~Gary Knipling
"I just really want to get going, get running, everything is good once you get going...everything just sort of works itself out." ~Kerry Owens
"At some point the body protests. 70 to 80 miles into the event runners are sleep deprived, dehydrated, and low on calories. They may be questioning their sanity. They may believe that they cannot continue. For some, recovery comes quickly and they return to the task. Diana Widdowson, appearing here to be out of the race, overtook her competition and finished as second woman" ~Written by Beth Lancione and Spoken by Narrator Craig Staudenmaier
"The routing is questionable in many many places and when you get tired there seems to be no place to put your foot. If you do the same trail fresh you would totally disagree with your own opinion but the mind changes after 90 miles." ~Stan Duobinis, Race Director
This straight forward film was directed, edited, and produced by Ben LaDieu. It shows that a film can be completed with a couple of film crews and a desire to show what can be found out on the trail. Although there is some lighting issues providing some "special effects" and an occasional microphone visible in the shots, it is easy to overlook these issues by keeping on track with the storyline. This film’s official website, brookwoodstreet.com, contains a host of information and you can also order this film there or by visiting Amazon.com to see the camaraderie, determination, and perseverance shown by the ultramarathoning community. Visit the VHTRC.org site for results and details about this race as well as entry information about future races.