8 Running Documentaries to Keep You Inspired this Winter

Do you hear that it’s north winds, sleet and crunchy snow. Yup that’s right winter is coming. Maybe you live in the southern hemisphere in that case I hate you, also can we be best friends right now, I want to come visit! Chances are a the mercury drops you’re running less and holding down the couch more but it gets tricky. Even if your not training for some sort of hypothermic half you still want to keep some running in your life but getting motivated to run in the dark and the cold dressed in SOOO many layers and a headlamp is HARD! Combine the couch and blankets, and hot chocolate with your lack of motivation and tackle two birds with one stone by binging on running documentaries!


Now full discloser I like most movies even the bad one, so fun to mock right? And I don’t think I’ve ever watched a running documentary I didn’t love. So chances are if there’s one I left off I haven’t seen it please share! So expect them all to be raves.. So get cozy, grab a blanket and lace up your running shoes!

The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young


Do you want to run an ultra marathon, no you might after this! This documents the hellish Barkley Marathon held in Tennessee each year consisting of multiple loops and torn book pages. It follows the competitors invited one year and focuses on the eccentric organizer Gary as well as the participants. Not only is it inspiring it’s award winning. If they can run 97 km in the woods all of a sudden a 5k in December doesn’t look that bad!

Breaking 2


This documentary is amazing I don’t care what anyone more jaded than me says even honey loved it and admitted that it gave home the urge to run! However 5 minutes later he was eating potato chips, apparently the urge passed quickly. This one documents Nike’s drive to have a runner break the two hour marathon. You get to watch three of the worlds fastest runners train and run under ideal conditions. Spoiler alert the two hour marathon stands intact, barely, but the feat of human athleticism is amazing! Sure it could be viewed as advertising but I promise it will get your butt off the couch.

Free to run


This one is all about Kathrine Switzer’s run as the first registered woman at Boston. You get an inside view of how she got there, by accident and how far race officials went to get her out, a long way. You also get to hear a lot about her amazing coach the man who believed in her and pushed her to compete. Both feminists if you ask me. There is also a lot fo discussion of why some stupid people thought women couldn’t and shouldn’t run the marathon distance. If you’ve run a marathon with lady bits you have this lady to thank. Ladies if you want to get good and riled up before your run, this will fo it for you!

Spirit of the Marathon

spirit of the

This documentary follows the journey of 6 runners training for the Chicago marathon from almost novices to elite runners all their stories are equally important. I really liked it because it really gives you that just like me vibe whether your watching the novices or the elites. You get to hear what makes each one tick and maybe realize that running for the love of running and not as a job is where it’s at! I swear if I ever decide to tackle a full this will be playing on repeat. There’s also a sequel spirit of the marathon 2 in case you’re hooked.

Prefontaine: Fire on the Track


A lot of modern running culture can be traced back to one legendary man named Steve Prefontaine, who was taken from us all very young. While I had heard his name before watching this I had no idea what a legacy he left on the sport. He was without a doubt the original rockstar of running. Not because he was famous, which he was, but because he ran for him and just happened to win. His attitude held strong in the sport and that’s still why the first place finisher and the last place finisher get to have the same experience. He was also what made a little startup company called Nike cool. So when you read PRE Lives on running stuff it’s all about this man! It’s so good that even if you’re not into running like honey, his life and death paint a compelling picture.

Running on the Sun: Badwater 135


Remember that comradely while competing I was just talking about, yup it’s on display on this movie. This race follows 40 runners to cover 135 miles through Death Valley. Some are chill about it one dude is definitely not. Many that start do not finish and it’s pretty understandable as to why. Before watching this I didn’t think it was cool to remove your own toenails during a race now I can’t say that. The filmmaker paints a compelling story and as much as possible you feel like you’re there only your feet aren’t bleeding.

Run for your Life


Did you know that the famous NYC marathon was really put on the map by not that great a runner, numbers wise, but who had an incredible passion for growing the sport. Equal parts the story of the NYC Marathon and it’s biggest supporter Fred Lebow. Like most of us he was a flawed man but he accomplished great things for the sport. This movie also pulls back the curtain to a certain extent on not the dark side of running but more so some behind the scenes slightly icky stuff. We’re not perfect either!

Boston: The Documentary


No doubt about it Boston is the ultimate goal for a lot of runners and most of us think that it’s because you have to qualify for it. That’s true but how did it happen. The film documents the entire history of the race including the bombings. Some of the history isn’t pretty but the glory of Boston looms large in many runner’s minds and this explains why even if you don’t quite know why. It’s kind of crazy that the allure of Boston was created by accident.

If you’re still looking for motivation to get yourself out the door check out this post I wrote about winter running tips and tricks, including how to trick yourself into it! Which one of these is your favorite? Is there one I left off the list that you love? Please, please share in the comments below, winter is almost here!

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