Spirit of the Marathon Movie Review

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Spirit of the Marathon Movie Review

While sport’s movies are becoming more of a clichéd ritual than an inspiring genre, Spirit of the Marathon is definitely a movie that breaks the typical mold. Focused on the six prominent contestants for the 2005 Chicago Marathon, this fast-paced film attempts to portray the lives of these runners as they prepare for their 26.2 mile long journey. Unlike most other “training day” movies, Spirit of the Marathon does a great job holding the audience’s attention with a compelling storyline. What seems to make this movie so great is not the flashy production values (which is very good considering the production’s budget), but the plausibility of the entire plot that comes with a heartfelt documentary.

The story primarily focuses on the training of the lesser known contestants, some of whom portray such a fierce and determined outlook on the race that makes viewers want to go out and train for a marathon themselves. Spirit of the Marathon is also accompanied by an amazing film score. Jeff Beal, renowned for being an Emmy award-winning film composer, wrote the score for the movie. The Prague Philharmonic Orchestra performed the pieces masterfully.

Spirit of the Marathon definitely does not fall short on accolades. The New York Times applauds the film’s commentary provided by former marathon runners, and the movie’s overall enthusiasm towards marathon competition. The Los Angeles Times acknowledges the vibrant feel of Chicago, and the documentary’s “inspiring journey of physical endurance and personal achievement.” Other critics view the movie as a subtle sneaker advertisement, but still admit that the movie is inspiring.

What may be most surprising about the film is how many well-known individuals helped to make it. Spirit of the Marathon is a collaborative effort of Telly Award winner and marathon runner Jon Dunham, producer and marathoner Gwendolen Twist, and three-time Academy Award winner Mark Jonathan Harris. The movie itself stars movie icons like Dick Beardsley, Paula Radcliffe, Bill Rodgers, Toshihiko Seko and Grete Waitz. Spirit of the Marathon won first in the Chicago Independent Film Festival for Audience’s Choice, and it also took the gold in the Mammoth Film Festival for best picture.

If you are feeling in need for some inspiration or want some proof that running a marathon is humanly possible, I would definitely recommend this movie to you. With a running time of only 104 minutes, it’s definitely a manageable movie. Spirit of the Marathon was released on January 24, 2008 and can be found in any major movie store.

For more information, check out Spirit of the Marathon DVD, and Run to Finish.

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