Movies About Running

Starting at the Finish Line: The Coach Buehler Story (2010)

  • His name is Al Buehler. Chances are you don’t know him. When you watch this film, you will wish you did, whether you care about track or field or not. Al Buehler has touched…and enriched…the lives of thousands of athletes including Olympians Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Carl Lewis, and Joan Benoit and Duke icons Grant Hill, Shane Battier, and Coach K. And the lives of thousands more who’ve never owned a pair of track shoes. Duke University is his home. His heart, his wisdom, his leadership, his strength made everyone…on or off campus… who met him feel at home. For 55 years, Al Buehler has inspired countless athletes and met enormous challenges — breaking new ground in race relations, women’s athletics and international sport. Now, Al Buehler faces his latest challenge — an inoperable benign brain tumor. “Starting at the Finish Line” - the story of Al Buehler, the leader, the inspiration, the man everyone who’s ever known him loves to call simply “Coach.”

Run For Your Life (2008) [Fred Lebow]

  • Without one eccentric first-generation Jewish immigrant from Transylvania, the New York City Marathon simply wouldn’t exist. Ehrlich’s fun, loving, and inspirational tribute to the late Fred Lebow shows how one man’s imagination, determination, and love for running created one of the world’s most popular sporting events

The Long Green Line (2008)

  • Coach Joe Newton has used the sport of Cross Country Running to teach simple but important lessons to high school boys for the last 50 years. “Always do your best”, “be on time” and “it’s nice to be great but far greater to be nice” are mantras, which have turned the Boys Cross Country team at the public York High School in Elmhurst Illinois into the most winning high school team in any sport in America. Along with mastery of their sport, Newton turns boys into men, who carry his teaching and his love for each of them throughout their lives. The Long Green Line documents the York Duke’s 2005 Cross Country season as the runners seek their record 25th state title in 50 years. In the sport of Cross Country only the top 5 athletes per team score points and only seven are included in competition. The York team has 221 athletes participating under the tutelage of Coach Newton. Though 214 boys know they will have no influence on the season’s scores, they are moved to participate just to be …

Spirit of the Marathon (2007)

  • The first ever feature-length film to capture the essence, drama and unique spectacle of the famed 26.2-mile race, the production features five runners - three amateurs and two elites - as they train for and ultimately run the Chicago Marathon.

Without Limits (1998) [Steve Prefontaine]

  • The film follows the life of famous 1970s runner Steve Prefontaine from his youth days in Oregon to the University of Oregon where he worked with the legendary coach Bill Bowerman, later to Olympics in Munich and his early death at 24 in a car crash.

Prefontaine (1997) [Steve Prefontaine]

  • Life and times of Steve Prefontaine, a young long-distance runner from Oregon who pursued the dream of Olympic gold in Munich and became one of the biggest, yet most tragic sport stars in America.

Fire on the Track: The Steve Prefontaine Story (Video 1995)

  • “Pre” embodied the spirit of athletic excellence. He had a belief in self and sport that transcended all but the outer reaches of human speed and endurance. As a freshman, he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, which hailed him as “America’s Distance Prodigy”. By the time he died in a tragic auto accident at the age of 24, Pre held all 7 American records between 2,000 and 10,000 meters. Off the track, he fought relentlessly for the rights of amateur athletes to prosper for their sacrifices. Narrated by Ken Kesey, Fire On the Track is the story of this young lion’s life, as told through rare footage and the memories of those who knew him best - his teammates, coaches, family and friends. Interviews include David Bedford, Frank Shorter, Ian Stewart, Bill Bowerman, Jeff Galloway, Dick Buerkle, Lasse Viren, Dana Carvey, Mac Wilkins, Kenny Moore, Dave Wottle, Alberto Salazar, and many more.

Running Brave (1983) [Billy Mills]

  • The story of Billy Mills, the American Indian that came from obscurity, to win the 10,000 meter long distance foot race in the Tokyo Olympics.

Chariots of Fire (1981)

  • Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.

On The Run (1979) [Arthur Lydiard]

  • This film showcases legendary running coach Arthur Lydiard’s training methods through the example of his acolytes, including reigning Olympic 1,500m champ John Walker. ‘Arthur’s boys’ (Snell, Halberg, Magee) scored attention by winning unheralded medals (two golds and a bronze) at the 1960 Rome Olympics. Lydiard later led the ‘flying Finns’ to similar success. His method revolves around building stamina to complement speed, and was influential in popularising jogging globally. Beautifully filmed, a doco highlight is Jack Foster’s exhilarating scree slope descent.

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)

  • A rebellious youth, sentenced to a boy’s reformatory for robbing a bakery, rises through the ranks of the institution through his prowess as a long distance runner. During his solitary runs, reveries of his life and times before his incarceration lead him to re-evaluate his privileged status as the Governor’s prize runner.

Other Inspirational Films

Invincible (2006) [football]

  • Based on the story of Vince Papale, a 30-year-old bartender from South Philadelphia who overcame long odds to play for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles in 1976.

On A Clear Day (2005) [swimming]

  • Man loses his job- decides to swim the English Channel
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