The Best Running Documentaries I Discovered While Stuck at Home During the Pandemic.

Monday Mug Thoughts #40

Good Morning Finishers,

It’s a beautiful day for a Monday ☀️. At last, we have reached that time of year where the weather actually makes us WANT to get outside and run because it’s so nice outside.

I always think of March-May as prime running season. Why? Because it’s the time of year where people who never run decide to lace up the shoes and get out there. It’s almost like people that attend church on Christmas and Easter but never go again. It’s seasonal. It feels good now but too hard later.

While that may be the case for most people, some actually fall in love with running during these months. Many of you reading this email did. If you can remember, this time 1 year ago was when we first started to realize that COVID-19 was no joke. These were the headlines from March 8, 2020.

As the world started to shut down, and people were left with hardly anything to do, many picked up running. Most people stopped, but others continued to run.

This season, let’s get more people to fall in love with running.

Hear me loud and clear folks. You are an inspiration. Regardless of how many miles you can run, or how long you’ve been doing this running thing, you have the power to get someone off the couch and make a change in their lives. The sheer decision you make each day to push yourself and go for a run is something that a majority of people aren’t doing. You understand the benefits of running. Don’t keep them to yourself!

I Challenge You: Invite someone on a run with you this week. Doesn’t matter if they are a runner themselves or not. Just toss the idea out there and see what they say. This single invitation might be the thing that changes their life forever. Just ask!

Speaking of Couches…

Three days ago the governor of my home state, Arizona, made the call to re-open businesses back to 100% capacity with the expectation that social distancing and face coverings are still required.

This announcement seemed like a really big milestone to me. While time will tell if this is truly the RIGHT call, it made me hopeful that we are actually making our way out of this crisis. Millions of vaccine doses are being administered every day, More states are lowering restrictions, and cases continue to decrease. These are good signs.

While I know that we are far from “done” with this pandemic, AZ businesses getting back to 100% capacity did make me think about what I did the most during this pandemic:

I ran more than I ever have and I watched WAY MORE television than I ever have.

Throughout the course of my stat-at-home streaming extravaganza, I actually discovered quite a few remarkable running documentaries that you may or may not have heard of. Each one of these stories amazed me in different ways and inspired me to think bigger about the challenges I create for myself. They lit a fire in me, and I’m confident they’ll do the same for you 🔥

So, if you find yourself out of ideas for things to watch, try one of these! You might assume that watching people run while you sit on the couch isn’t exactly how you want to relax, but I promise you, these stories are worth it!

The Best Running Documentaries I Discovered While Stuck at Home During the Pandemic.

The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young

Link to Watch

Google the term, “hardest running challenges in the world” and the Barkley will come up every time. For the first 9 years of its existence, not a single sole finished the race. This race is one of the hardest to get into, costs $1.60 to enter, and requires that you use only a compass to track down pages ripped out of a chapter book.

Designed by Gary "Lazarus Lake" Cantrell, the Barkley Marathon is a 100 mile “fun run” inspired by the escape of Early Ray from prison, the assassin of Martin Luther King Jr. This documentary tells the history behind the race and showcases what it’s like to compete in it. Even if you aren’t a runner, this documentary is just flat-out mind-blowing, and entertaining to watch.

Iron Cowboy: The Story of the 50-50-50

Link to Watch

You've probably heard of an Ironman Triathlon. If you haven’t, it involves a 2.4 mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run back to back to back in one go. Crazy right? Well, in this documentary, James Lawrence sets out to do 50 of these ironmans…in 50 consecutive days…in 50 different states. I’m sorry what?

This is by far the most unheard-of challenge of physicality I’ve ever seen. I’ve competed in one Ironman myself and let me tell you, I was not ready to do another the day after I was finished. I love this one though because Lawrence talks about the definition of “hard” and how it’s different for ever person. His hard is 50 ironmans. Someone else’s hard might be a 5k. Regardless of what your “hard” is it’s important that you are always chasing after it. That message has stuck with me ever since I watched this.

The Human Race

Link to Watch

This documentary showcases the lives of six runners between the ages of 50-90 that are training to compete in the biggest race of their lives. These athletes refuse to use their age as an excuse to avoid running and push themselves harder than they ever have in training for this challenge. One of these runners is Kathrine Switzer who was the first woman to ever run the Boston Marathon as a registered participant. This documentary proves just how powerful running can be for people and how nothing, not even age, can stop you from achieving your goals if you want it badly enough.

Karl Meltzer: Made To Be Broken

Link to Watch

The Appalachian Trail runs from Maine to Georgia stretching 2,190 miles through 14 states. A thru-hiker will experience 464,500 feet of elevation change, or 16 climbs of Mt. Everest. Thousands of people attempt an Appalachian Trail thru-hike every year, yet only one in four hikers finish the journey, and they typically take five to seven months to complete it. Ultrarunner Karl Meltzer decides he wants to break the record and do it in 46 days, 8 hours, and 6 min.

This one had me on the edge of my seat. When you are trying to complete something that normally takes 5-7 months in 1.5 months that means every literal second counts. Every second of sleep, Every second you spend eating, and every second you spend going to the bathroom is all going against you. Hiking the Appalachian trail is something high on my bucket list and my man Karl is the one that inspired that.

Transamericana

You’ve seen Forrest Gump, right? If your answer to this question is “no” then you need to make that a priority. For the normal human beings that have seen it, you’ll remember him running across the entire country because he “just felt like running.”

What if I told you that someone did this in real life? Well, let me introduce you to Rickey Gates. This man is an ultrarunning legend. He’s traveled the world taking on the craziest challenges he can think of, including running every single street in his hometown San Francisco so that he could get to know his city better. On March 1st - August 1st in 2017, Gates runs from South Carolina to San Francisco traveling over 3700 miles in an attempt to truly know his country and the varying personalities of the people it’s made of.

His humility throughout the entire journey is baffling. His pain and anguish are genuinely felt. The meaning behind the challenge is so powerful that I genuinely believe I became a better person after watching it. Definitely a must-watch.

Brittany Runs A Marathon

Link to Watch

This one isn’t a documentary but is based on a true story. Brittany’s story begins just like so many of ours. She’s an average girl living a very average life. She parties quite a bit, eats too much fast food, and lacks any kind of commitment to anything that might make her refrain from these things. She’s stuck, unhappy, and wants to change but has no clue where to start.

Too broke for a gym, Brittany starts running and 1 mile about kills her. But she doesn’t give up, as she realizes the effect that running is making on her life. She stops saying out late and partying because she has to get up and run. She surrounds herself with better friends, makes better eating choices, and starts to feel happy again. She takes her newfound passion all the way to the New York City Marathon.

I believe this movie could inspire anyone to run a marathon. It captures the emotional and psychological process that everyone goes through when they consider the goal. It starts with needing a challenge, at first it feels impossible, and then eventually you do it and realize how awesome it was! I’m OBSESSED with this movie and truly believe you will be too.

At Least Watch One!

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve binged my fair share of Ozark, Grey’s Anatomy, and even the Bachelor in my spare time. I’m a Netflix fiend just like the rest of you.

These movies though, actually made me actually FEEL something. After each one of them, I felt jacked up with excitement and inspired to actually go out and DO something. I’m curious if they do the same for you.

Give one of them a shot. Doesn’t need to be all of them, but pick one you think you might like and let me know what you think of it! I’m very interested in what it does for you so let’s chat about it!

Cheers,

Zack


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