Lazy rest day today? Well there’s perhaps no better activity for the runner than to kick back and relax with a good running movie. After all the punishing workouts and lengthy runs, a rest day is just the right idea. Here are some films that are sure to keep runners entertained. See which most appeals to your tastes and before you settle in, maybe even make some healthy but yummy movie snacks.
A new running movie this past year, McFarland follows the story of coach Jim White a failed football coach who gets involved in coaching a high school cross-country team. Working in an impoverished California town, White notices the Mexican-American students’ raw talent for running. Many of the kids work on plantations and are in the habit of running to and from work all before starting a day of school. White begins to learn about the sport and harnesses their talent to create a team strong enough to make it to state championships. This is a feel-good Disney movie that runners of all ages can appreciate.
Still Alice, 2014
Nominated for “best actress” in this film, Julianne Moore does justice to her role as Dr. Alice Howard, a linguistics professor at Columbia University who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. Those who watch this movie will understand the despair Moore’s character feels as her daily running route along familiar grounds becomes disorienting. As her illness worsens, parts of her life begin to fray as she grapples for a hold on reality. Something that stays constant even while her memory deteriorates is the importance running has in her life. Running through illness or to bounce back from illness is a common theme in running and one that many will identify with regardless of whether or not Alzheimer’s hits home.
Sarah Prefers to Run, 2013
A very Canadian movie, runners from this country (especially Montrealers) will appreciate the plot of a student runner, Sarah, who has a passion for the sport. She gets offered a place on McGill University’s team and makes the move to Montreal. Students, parents and young people will appreciate a story that is so honest about the struggles that we go through when moving to a new city to start university. Sarah Prefers to Run, a TIFF pick last year, is honest about the lifestyle of student-athletes right down to the financial burdens that come with second-level education. When Sarah’s room mate falls for her and tries to win her attention, she’s oblivious– something that comes when staying so focused on training. When Sarah expresses having found nothing that satisfies her and frees her the way running does, many runners will relate. In an interesting twist though, Sarah comes to understand her own romantic attractions and sexual orientation as she becomes closer to a fellow runner.
Saint Ralph, 2004
This Canadian film from 2004 follows the story of Ralph Walker, a ninth-grade student who goes on to train for the 1954 Boston Marathon with hopes of winning the historic race.
Race and More Than Gold (2016)
Two new films about 1936 Olympic champion Jesse Owens are also out now including Race, currently playing in theatres, and More Than Gold, a new NBC documentary narrated by the iconic voice of Morgan Freeman.
Think we missed one? Check out even more running films in our “Best running movies of all time” piece.