Four years ago I took a giant leap and registered for my first marathon. While training for that race, I stumbled upon a movie called Spirit of the Marathon thanks to a suggestion on Netflix. The movie centered around a handful of runners training for the Chicago Marathon (a race I would eventually go on to run, but felt so far out of the realm of possibilities at the time).
The movie was beyond inspiring. I was still at the beginning of training at the time and didn’t really know anyone who had run a full marathon before. Watching a full range of runners (the featured athletes ranged from elite to running newbies) complete the race put my mind at ease that this wasn’t a crazy thing I was doing. There were other runners out there putting it all out on the line to train and run for every reason under the sun. As soon as I finished, I wanted to jump up and run the marathon right then and there.
Spirit of the Marathon has since become a cult classic among runners out there. I’m pretty sure every person who has ever run a marathon has watched it again and again. I know I watched it two or three times before I ran Chicago in 2010. 🙂
When I heard they were coming out with Spirit of the Marathon II, I was the first in line for tickets for the one-night only cinema premiere. Err… actually my friend Dee was the first in line. She put out a call on twitter to see who was interested in seeing it and I couldn’t say yes fast enough. We bought our tickets almost a month ago, that’s how long we’ve been looking forward to it!
Spirit of the Marathon II centers around the Rome Marathon in Italy. Talk about a beautiful setting for a marathon! My family and I spent a fews days in Rome in 2005 and the movie brought back so many memories of the amazing sites I was fortunate to visit 8 years ago. I would kill to go back and run the Rome Marathon! The movie actually inspired me to run an international marathon one day. I don’t care if it’s Berlin, London, Paris, Rome, etc. I would love to run a race across the pond one day.
The movie starts with the start of the race, then dives into the back stories of the seven featured runners. There was a good mix of running backgrounds and reasons of being there. There was the elite runner trying to qualify for the Olympics, the first timer running to prove something to herself, the charity runner running 52 marathons in 52 weeks, the 72-year old running his 18th Rome marathon, and so on and so on. The runners came from all over the world, featuring only two Americans in the story line.
Spirit of the Marathon II went beyond the personal journeys of the featured marathoners and gave a little history on the marathon itself. I’m a running history nerd and loved having the bit of history woven in, with the sport’s legends giving their personal accounts on big moments.
As a runner who’s either run a marathon or hopes to one day run a marathon, it’s easy to relate to the characters because we’ve all been there. We’ve all dedicated hours to training, hoping we’ll make it to the finish line. We know the sacrifices it takes to dedicate ourselves to finishing those 26.2 miles, we know how much mile 20 hurts, we know how much our loved ones love us for putting up with our craziness, and we all dream of one day being that 72 year old completing our upteenth marathon. It really is an emotional journey and it’s hard not to get caught up in it all.
I loved Spirit of the Marathon II, but I’m also a run nerd. Just as the first movie did, I’m now inspired more than ever to train for my next race and cross that finish line. Though, as great as the second one was, I think the first will always have a bigger place in my heart. I think the runners in the first one had a little more heart in their journeys.
Did you see Spirit of the Marathon II last night? What did you think?