Friday, June 21, 2013

Spirit of the Marathon II : A Review

There’s no question that running a marathon is a journey. No, I’m not just talking about the 26.2 miles that it takes to get from the start line to the finish. There’s the training that goes in to being able to complete the feat, the emotional and mental evolution that a runner goes through to undertake such an endeavor, and in some cases a trip to get to the destination where the race is being held. These journeys are all chronicled in the new documentary “Spirit of the Marathon II,” which I had the opportunity to see at a screening last week with my friend Katherine.

As in the first “Spirit of the Marathon” movie, viewers get to experience training for and competing in a marathon through the eyes of a runner. With this installment, viewers are transported to Europe to partake in the marathon of Rome. Each of the seven subjects up for inspection come from various skill levels and have distinct marathon goals. Interspersed with segments on the history of the marathon and gorgeous views of the Italian capital, the competitors share their stories about why they are undertaking the marathon. For some it is a first attempt at a marathon; for others, this race is a qualifying event to be a part of a 2012 Olympic team. The common denominator between them unfolds as you witness the challenges and unforeseen circumstances that come between the competitors on their journey. The moral of the story inevitably is that this undertaking is not without risk no matter how experienced of a runner you are, but the ultimate reward is worth the pain.

Regardless of the runner, viewers quickly become invested in each. Cheering them on as they approach the finish line of their journey is inevitable, and something that can be appreciated by runners and non-runners alike. Katherine and I agreed that it is a perfect homage to the sport, and better explains the motivation behind why runners do what they do. The “Spirit of the Marathon II” screening was part of a one night special event, and was the exclusive chance to see it on the big screen; however, if the first installment is any indication, the documentary will be available on DVD and through various in-home streaming options in the near future. Runners could definitely use this as a last minute reminder of what they are about to accomplish, and non-runners could use this as motivation to consider a lifestyle change to be one of “those guys.” For both groups, this is great insight in to what a tight knit community is all about.

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