5 Running Movies to Inspire You

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Tis the season — to curl up in front of a fire (if only I had a fireplace!), eating buttered popcorn and watching a good movie. When I have the time, I love watching an inspiring movie before a race. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a movie about running.

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Today I am joining up with the  Friday Five 2.0  from Fairytales & Fitness and Rachel @ Running on Happy to share the five movies about running and life that will inspire you. I’d love it if you’d leave your favorite inspirational movies in the comments — you can never have too many of them!

McFarland, USA
On the face of it, this movie is about running and building champions. But it’s about so much more.

  • Not judging by looks
  • Talent isn’t everything; heart is
  • Being willing to work hard for your dreams
  • The strength of family — blood and the ones who become your family

And if none of that grabs you, Kevin Costner.

Unbroken
Louis Zamperini went from juvenile delinquent all the way to the Olympics. That in and of itself might be worthy of a movie . . . but he also served in World War II, where his plane was shot down and he survived — that might be enough for a movie.

He was captured by the Japanese and interned in a prisoner of war camp, where he endured unthinkable cruelties, yet his spirit remained, indeed, unbroken.

Spirit of the Marathon
I watched this movie before my first half marathon — and even though it is about the Chicago Marathon, half marathoners will find plenty to inspire them, too. I have watched it over and over again and never get tired of it.

From elites (Deena Kastor) to older runners to first time runners — no doubt you will find yourself in this film. And you will definitely feel good after watching it.

Run for Your Life
It’s doubtful that I will ever run the NYC Marathon. Because, you know, I’d have to run a marathon. But I found this documentary about Fred Lebow, the father of the NYC Marathon, so to speak, fascinating. Think Spirit of the Marathon without quite as much polish.

I had heard of him before I watched this, but I really didn’t know anything about him. To say he was a character seems like an understatement. I actually found many similarities between him and my grandmother, who also left her home at the tender age of fourteen, who came to this country on her own, and who also worked in the garment industry.

That’s where the similarities end . . . my grandmother certainly wasn’t a runner. Yet I see a little bit of my grandmother in Fred Lebow; they were forged in the same time under similar circumstances.

Anyone who has ever run, or wanted to run, the NYC marathon should watch this documentary.

Secretariat
Yes, this movie is about running. Horses running. But I challenge you to watch it and not feel inspired. It’s all about belief — believing in yourself, in your trainers, in your training.

Favorite quote:

Because you never know how far you can go until you run

More to explore:

  • Race
  • Spirit of the Marathon II
  • The Rookie (not about running, but about chasing your dreams at any age)
  • October Sky (also not about running, but incredibly inspiring)
  • Cliffy (the Aussie Rocky — only based on a true story)

So let me know in the comments:

What’s your favorite inspirational movie (doesn’t have to be about running)?

What’s your favorite running movie?

Do you see something of your family in any famous runners, even if your family doesn’t run?

26 thoughts on “5 Running Movies to Inspire You

      1. I disagree. I think both the book & movie were very good. Something has be sacrificed when you take a book of that size and make it a movie (although I did actually think it could’ve been shorter — which is what I think about most movies).

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  1. I loved the documentary about the Boston marathon I saw, although very sad, I loved how people battle through…I can’t remember what is was called though!
    I also liked Patriot’s Day, some people didn’t love Wahlberg’s version but I enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read Unbroken a long time ago, and it was such a great book! I have wanted to see the movie for a while. Maybe this weekend.

    I saw there is a running documentary on Netflix, I have to find it, I don’t remember the name.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve seen a couple of these but I’ll be sure to check out the rest! I’m training this winter starting in February so I might need some inspiration. You should check out breaking 2 from Nike it’s on youtube and pretty inspiring too!

    Liked by 1 person

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