Sunday, December 18, 2011

Unbreakable: The Western States 100

Preview here:

I saw this movie at a screening in Arlington, VA last night.  Our local cinema drafthouse. (Nice to drink a beer during a movie).  The movie does a good job of telling the back story of the WS100.  The 'inventor' of the race does some narrating, and what a story he has!  Can a human run a horse race, and can he outrun the horses?  That's the question in his mind in a time before gatorade, Gu's, camelbacks, etc.  Fast forward to 2010, the movie interviews the top 4 athletes that will compete in this race.  We're taken through their back story, some of their training.  It is grounding to see that these world class athletes work in grocery stores, shoes stores, or are students.  I think this reveals that the sport of ultrarunning is still in its infancy.  One cannot make a living doing what few others can do.  Surely other sports have started and grown into pop culture similarly.

On the critical side, this movie doesn't take us through the lives and abilities of the non-elites.  The movie-goer sees only the side of the few runners competing for the top honors.  Seeing the elites' feats is amazing, but doesn't necessarily inspire others to do the same.   Some may be jealous of people that break records in every race they run ;). By contrast, 'Hood to Coast' or 'Spirit of The Marathon' - two running movies that spend equal time on the middle of the pack'ers. I am the type who'd like to finish a magnificent race like this in the middle of my age group.

My favorite sub-plot was the story of the early life of Killian.  His mom explains how she raised him and how he used the tools she taught him to hike, navigate, survive.  As a parent I was touched by this and take it to heart.  

If you're at all into running, see the movie!  I was 38years old before I learned that humans actually ran ultramarathons!  Get exposed to this culture, see if it's for you.  ((note: Sadly I didn't make the WS100 lottery this year, but I will keep trying.))