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Spirit of the Marathon II

by Meghann on June 13, 2013

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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?

1 Krissy @ Shiawase Life June 13, 2013 at 10:02 am

I can’t wait to see it! It wasn’t showing where I live, so I’ll wait to see when it comes out on DVD ๐Ÿ™‚
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2 Eric June 13, 2013 at 10:05 am

I saw it in NYC last night. I thought it was GREAT and the director did a phenomenal job of making it different from the first one (also a Netflix inspiration when I was training for Chicago). The only thing I found annoying was the Pancreatic Cancer fundraiser. Other than that, I found all of the stories super inspiring.
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3 Karla @ Run, Karla, Run! June 13, 2013 at 10:07 am

I wasn’t able to see it last night, but will definitely catch it On Demand/Netflix whenever it’s available. Methinks the Rome Marathon is suddenly about to become WAY more popular. It’s already one of my dream races. Rome is one of my absolute favorite places on Earth!
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4 Kate June 13, 2013 at 10:35 am

I saw it too! While I really liked it, I definitely preferred the first movie. I felt like I connected with the runners more and liked following their training. I feel like that was missing in this one.

Fun tidbit – we found our seats in the theatre when all of a sudden Jeff Galloway walked in to watch the movie! I live in the same town as him so it’s not unusual to see him around, but then the movie started and there he was on screen! It was a lot of fun watching other people realize he was there. Def made the experience more exciting.

5 Emily N June 13, 2013 at 10:39 am

I really wanted to see it, But I was honestly not in the mood. Not being able to run myself right now has been kind of down on the whole thing.

6 Ashley June 13, 2013 at 10:39 am

I can’t wait to see this! I love the original Spirit of the Marathon and as a half-marathoner who is *just* about to take the leap and sign up for my first full I am now more interested than ever.
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7 Rachel June 13, 2013 at 10:40 am

I saw it and loved it –and I have to say I was a little disappointed about the turnout. I thought that the theater would be packed with runners, but just a handful of us showed up. Especially since there’s a running store two doors down — I guess it wasn’t promoted. Oh well…

Now I want to run ROME!!! HAHAHAHA. ๐Ÿ™‚

8 Lori June 13, 2013 at 10:50 am

I went with my husband and 13 yr old son. We absolutely loved it! I was also disappointed with the turnout, about 12 people total in the theater. Honestly, if we hadn’t gone to a different movie the prior weekend and saw the previews we wouldn’t have know anything about it! This movie made me laugh and cry and inspired me start training for a full marathon at age 52! (I’ve only ran a half).

9 Rebecca@Running.Food.Baby. June 13, 2013 at 11:11 am

I haven’t seen Spirit of the Marathon yet – but I’m guessing I should! It seems like my kind of movie!
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10 Megan June 13, 2013 at 11:14 am

I saw it last night – I think the first one featured more of their training and those struggles and challenges and overcoming them. I feel that SotM II featured more of the runner’s life stories, not necessarily about their running, but about THEM. I also appreciated all the history they incorporated into it.

I ran my first marathon here in the States because I wanted to commit to running Budapest in 2013 (October), but wanted to make sure I could do it before I traveled overseas to do it. Now I know I can, but can’t afford Budapest this year. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll do an international race one day too!
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11 Jane @ Not Plain So Jane June 13, 2013 at 11:15 am

How have I never heard of this? Perfect Netflix suggestion for a cloudy day in LA!
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12 Mary June 13, 2013 at 11:21 am

I just watched both trailers and now want to see both movies!
I’d never heard of Spirit of the Marathon before but can see why it would be such a big inspiration to so many.
I’m desperate to get an overseas marathon on my list of races too! I’m thinking possibly Dublin next year, although that’s only just over the water. I’ve yet to get into London after three years of trying…fingers crossed when the ballot is drawn in October I draw a place for 2014. ๐Ÿ™‚
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13 Sara June 13, 2013 at 11:22 am

Aw, man. I hadn’t heard about this and it was playing in my town last night! I completely missed it.

14 Colleen L June 13, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I loved it and might actually have liked it better than the first one although it’s been awhile since I’ve seen that one though, so could just be because this one is fresh. I really liked how they got more into the life stories of the different runners. I dragged my non-runner boyfriend to see it and he actually enjoyed it too because of that.

I’d also love to run Rome someday. I’ve done Dublin and Athens overseas and had so much fun at both!
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15 Amanda @ Peanut Butter & Adrenaline June 13, 2013 at 12:18 pm

I hope to see it soon! The first movie makes me so beyond happy and motivated to train super hard. It’s what really convinced me to run a marathon one day.
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16 Presh June 13, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Sounds so amazing! I wish I was able to go last night. I have to see if the first one is still on netflix. I hadn’t heard about this until a couple weeks ago. I know I will be inspired. I haven’t run a marathon yet but an international marathon has always been on my list since I became a runner. I actually want to run a race in every continent. Now that will be amazing. & if that doesn’t work out. At least in every state :). I’m starting with states first lol.
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17 Becky @ Olives n Wine June 13, 2013 at 12:37 pm

I haven’t seen it but I am running my FIRST marathon this fall – The Long Beach Marathon in October! I’m super excited but scared and nervous as well. I’ll have to add this movie to my list!

18 Sonia the Mexigarian June 13, 2013 at 1:21 pm

I haven’t seen the first one yet. Though I went with a friend last night to the screening and we were crazy inspired to go for a run afterwards. Since it was my first running film, I have nothing to compare it to, so I very much enjoyed it. I laughed, cried and gaped at some points, and cheered/clapped for the runners.

Netflixing the first movie tonight ๐Ÿ™‚
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19 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats June 13, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Thanks for the review, I’ll have to watch it now! I definitely watched Spirit of the Marathon right before running Chicago this past fall, so inspiring!
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20 Karen June 13, 2013 at 1:41 pm

I absolutely loved the movie!! Part 1 is my favorite, but Part 2 was great in its own way. It was fun to see Jeff in his runDisney hat, too!! :0)

21 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions June 13, 2013 at 3:24 pm

I’ve got to find a way to watch Spirit of the Marathon. I don’t have Netflix (awful Internet connection + little desire to watch TV/movies = no Netflix over here), but I’m running the Chicago Marathon this October as my first marathon, and EVERYONE says I need to see Spirit of the Marathon. Now I want to watch it even more!
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22 Jelena@FabLifePhD June 13, 2013 at 3:37 pm

I am planning to run Cologne half marathon in October. I am really looking forward! It is a huge event with all kinds of people, and it will be my first one! I should see the movie to get even more motivated!
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23 Hayley @ Running on Pumpkin June 13, 2013 at 3:40 pm

I have never run a marathon and don’t have one planned for the near future, but it is definitely a goal of mine to someday complete a full. Now I want to see both the movies! I may actually watch the first one tonight!

24 Emily @The Good Era June 13, 2013 at 4:17 pm

I totally just teared up watching that clip! I would love to run a marathon one day, but I’m still working on beating my half marathon time first. Definitely a bucket list thing for me, though!

I can’t wait to see the full movie!
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25 Meghan @ After the Ivy League June 13, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Iโ€™ve been wanting to watch spirit of the marathon for awhile now. Iโ€™m gonna have to check out the first one on Netflix if itโ€™s still there. I donโ€™t know if Iโ€™ll ever run a marathon (Iโ€™m thinking probably not) but itโ€™s still so inspiring to watch others achieve their goals!
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26 Meghan June 13, 2013 at 5:49 pm

I loved loved the first Spirit of the Marathon but I’ll admit was a little on the fench about seeing the second one for whatever reason. After reading your review I think I will have to go see it. Date Night!
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27 Jan @ Sprouts n Squats June 13, 2013 at 7:01 pm

These both sound like great documentaries I will have to check them out as I hadn’t heard of them before and I’m thinking of doing my first half marathon this year.
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28 PeachyLau June 13, 2013 at 7:32 pm

I really want to watch it now! An I hope to still be running in my 70s!
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29 Megan June 13, 2013 at 9:17 pm
30 Michelle June 13, 2013 at 9:42 pm

I hope Netflix releases this one too ๐Ÿ™‚ I LOVED Spirit of the Marathon. I forced Dan to watch it and he really liked it (and he’s so not a runner).
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31 maria @ run lift life June 13, 2013 at 10:23 pm

I REALLY wanted to see this. Unfortunately they were only showing it on Wednesday night at the theater here and I work late that night. ๐Ÿ™ I was bummed. Hopefully it will come out on Netflix, tho!
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32 Grazia June 14, 2013 at 5:49 am

Rome was my first marathon (I live here) and it was absolutely amazing! I was running through more than 2500 years of history…. I had goosebumps! And finish line is in front of Colosseum, the perfect location!
I hope you will come to run Rome Marathon someday, it worths!
P.S. Venice Marathon is another beautiful race, with 14 little bridges to pass through in the final km.

33 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats June 14, 2013 at 8:12 am

I haven’t seen either of the movies but want to! Glad to hear you liked the first one. Hopefully I can catch it on Netflix soon ๐Ÿ™‚
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34 Zaneta June 14, 2013 at 10:33 am

I loved it too!! I’m not going to lie… I actually cried a couple tears! lol
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35 Beth June 14, 2013 at 12:01 pm

I so wanted to see this in theaters, but it didn’t work out. Now I’m biding time waiting for it to come out on DVD/Netflix. I’d better be ready to start training for another marathon before I watch it though, because I don’t know how you can watch it without getting pumped to do one!
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36 Anne June 14, 2013 at 12:43 pm

I need to see this movie! Maybe in the fall shortly before my first full marathon… to get me amped up! ๐Ÿ™‚
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37 Kaitie June 14, 2013 at 6:23 pm

I wanted to see it so badly, but unfortunately had class. As for the poor turnout some people noticed, I think the time and day of the week may have kept some from attending like myself. I also don’t know how well it was advertised – the only reason I was aware was from someone on twitter a few months ago. I can’t wait for it to pop up on Netflix!
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38 Erica June 15, 2013 at 4:38 pm

So…I always said I wouldn’t even CONSIDER running a marathon…and now I’m sort of considering doing it one day…I’ll have to watch this movie!

39 Victoria @ Reluctantly Skinny June 15, 2013 at 7:10 pm

I’ve been wanting to see the first one…hopefully it’s still on netflix! I need some motivation to get back into gear. This seems so inspiring, I want to go for a run just from the trailer!
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40 Gina June 16, 2013 at 11:35 am

I saw the first one and loved it, but missed this one. I’ll have to catch it on Netflix! Thanks for sharing! I think all runners can relate, even if not even near that elite status, we all know what it feels like to push hard, and train for the love of running!
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41 ct cupcake June 16, 2013 at 2:56 pm

I’ve run 4 marathon but I’ve never even heard of spirit of the marathon! If only I even had a netflix subscription…
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42 Lindsay June 17, 2013 at 1:37 pm

What is a run nerd and why do you keep referring to yourself as one?

43 Meghann June 17, 2013 at 8:11 pm

A run nerd is someone who is obsessed with all things running. There’s a whole hashtag (#RunNerd) dedicated to it

44 Hannah @ PalmBeachRunner June 17, 2013 at 2:12 pm

I cannot wait to see it! I saw the last one on Netflix this year by stumbling upon it accidently. I was so moved. I am definitely going to see this on as soon as I can. Thanks for the review
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45 Robb June 18, 2013 at 1:16 am

In january 2012 I weighed 329 pounds. Then I started to run. Last June I ran my first 5K at a 12-minute-mile pace. I had no idea that when I started that race I was also starting a journey that would change my life forever. Eleven months, five 5Ks, and 75 pounds later I ran a 10-mile race in Chicago at a 10-minute-mile pace. I decided after the 10-miler that I wanted to run a Half Marathon. I’ve always thought a marathon seems out of reach. It just seems preposterous. After reading this post, and the one about your experience at the Chicago Marathon, I’m starting to think that I want to do this. Actually, the tears streaming down my face are telling me I need to do this.
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46 Rachael June 18, 2013 at 10:44 am

Thanks for this post. I hadn’t seen the movie and since I’m training for my first marathon, it was of great interest to me! Can’t wait to see the second one.

47 Rachael C June 18, 2013 at 9:38 pm

I have never heard of this movie and now I feel like I have to go watch it immediately ๐Ÿ™‚ It definitely sounds inspiring. I am nowhere near ready for a marathon, but maybe it will help me train for my half.
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