A blog by runners. For runners.

Top 10 movies about running

Top 10 movies about runningIn the last few months, two movies about running were released on the big screen: Unbroken and McFarland USA. There’s also a movie about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, appropriately named Boston Strong, in the works for 2016.

These pictures join a host of other great movies about our sport. Check out some of our favorite movies about running:

  1. The Jericho Mile, 1979In this made-for-TV movie took home an Emmy, the main character, Rain, is sent to jail for murdering his abusive father. While in prison, a warden discovers his running talent and encourages him to train for the Olympic trials. He’s never allowed to since he is incarcerated, but it’s an excellent piece that shows just how determined runners can be.
  2. Chariots of Fire, 1981Winner of four academy awards, this British historical drama documents two runners – one Jewish and one a devout Christian – who competed in the 1924 Olympics. Chariots of Fire is sure to inspire any runner with its powerful plot. Plus, the slow motion beach running scene at the beginning of the movie may be the most famous movie running scene of all time.
  3. Forest Gump, 1994Forest Gump is a favorite of film critics and filmgoers alike – the movie won six Oscars, including best picture. Young Forest runs away from bullies when he’s being teased – prompting his friend Jenny to shout “run, Forest, run” – and he later turned to running as a coping mechanism and completed a three-year running journey across the U.S. 
  4. Prefontaine, 1997The first of two late nineties movies about late running legend, Steve Prefontaine. The movie follows Pre through his glory days at the University of Oregon, during the 1972 Olympics in Munich, up to his tragic death three years later.
  5. Without Limits, 1998The other biography of Steve Prefontaine, Without Limits is touted as being a more accurate portrayal of Pre – and even offers a glimpse of the beginnings of the company Nike.
  6. Saint Ralph, 2004In this fictional drama, Ralph Walker isn’t a very good runner, but he’s forced to join his Catholic high school’s cross-country team in the early 1950’s. However, he has a goal of winning the 1954 Boston Marathon, in hopes it will make his sick mother wake up from a coma. He trains hard and is mentored by one of the Fathers at his school. You’ll be rooting for Ralph from the beginning.
  7. Spirit of the Marathon, 2007Arguably the best movie to watch during marathon training, Spirit of the Marathon is a documentary that follows six runners – from elites to age groupers – as the train for and compete in the 2005 Chicago Marathon. The film will make you want to get off the couch and run a marathon tomorrow.
  8. Running the Sahara, 2007. This ultrarunner documentary focuses on the Sahara Desert. Filmmakers follow three men as they run across the desert, a journey of 111 days and more than 4,300 miles of challenging terrain.
  9. The Long Green Line, 2008A documentary about the most successful U.S. cross-country coach of all time, Joe Newton. The film follows the highs and lows of his team, York High School near Chicago, in the 2005 season as the prep to win their twenty-fifth state championship in 50 years. This movie will make you yearn for your high school XC days. 
  10. Running America, 2009This documentary follows ultrarunners Marshall Ulrich and Charlie Engle as they attempt to run across the U.S. in record time. The movie captures the highs and lows of running well. Ulrich, 57, ends up completing the journey from San Francisco to New York in 52.5 days – the third-fastest time ever recorded.

What’s your favorite running movie?

Written by Jen Matz.