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Our Favorite Running Movies

We’re not couch potatoes by any stretch of the imagination – rain or shine we’ll be out on the roads and trails logging miles and loving every minute of it. But we enjoy a good movie as much as the next guy, especially if it’s rated R (for Run). Here are a few of our favorite running flicks.

Without Limits

We’ve all heard about Pre. Steve Prefontaine was a star middle-distance runner who excelled at the University of Oregon, working with legendary coach Bill Bowerman. Pre’s life was cut short by a tragic car accident when he was only 24 years old, but his impact on the world of running lives on. When you watch his story, you’re watching one of the central running stories of the past half century . (More info on IMDb)

Run, Fatboy, Run

When you need a good laugh, this movie delivers. Simon Pegg plays the hapless Dennis, a less-than-fit non-athlete who decides to run a marathon to win back the woman he left (pregnant) at the altar five years before. Every runner has a different reason to run, and watching Dennis chase down his goal is…hilarious. (More info on IMDb)

Forrest Gump

We’ve all had some jagoff yell ‘run Forrest, run!’ at us while out logging miles. A big ‘thank you’ to Winston Groom for creating the now-classic line (yes, that’s sarcasm). Still, the storyline is pretty moving and uplifting, and it’s a neck-and-neck race between Gump and Titantic for the biggest 90′s tearjerker award. Sometimes when a few of the elders here at the ‘House look at their younger running days, they feel a little like Forrest when he says, “now you wouldn’t believe me if I told you, but I could run like the wind blows.” (More info on IMDb)

Atletu (“The Athlete”)

Watch Atletu when you want to experience a truly inspirational story of challenge and human determination. The film is based on the life of Abebe Bikila, arguably one of the best marathoners of all time. The Ethiopian soldier became an overnight legend when he took home gold in the marathon at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. He later experienced a tragic accident that ended his running career, but he didn’t let it end his competitive career. If you’re up against obstacles, Bikila (played by Rasselas Lakew) will inspire you to push through. (More info on IMDb)

Chariots of Fire

You didn’t think we’d forget about this classic, did you? Perhaps one of the best running movies of all time, if you haven’t seen this one yet, put it on your to-do list for your next rest day. The film depicts the true story of two British runners competing in the 1924 Olympics. After you watch this film, even just the first few notes of the theme song will get you fired up to head out the door for a run (and may drive you crazy as they stick in your head for the next month). (More info on IMDb)

Bonus Movies

And here are a few more flicks about running that we’ve enjoyed.

Unbreakable - No, we’re not talking about the thriller with Bruce Willis and pre-Snakes-on-a-Plane Sam Jackson. This movie chronicles four  undefeated ultramarathoners at the 2010 Western States 100-mile endurance run. (More info)

The Mountain Runners - This is the incredible true story of America’s first mountain adventure race by foot, car and steam train to the top of Mount Baker, a 10,781 foot peak in the Cascades. It features Scott Jurek and Krissy Moehl. (More info)

Personal Best – From the director of Without Limits (not to mention Chinatown), this movie follows two female track stars trying out for the 1980 U.S. Olympic team. Fun fact: many scenes were filmed right here in San Luis Obispo County, and if you squint at just the right moment, you’ll see our manager of team sales running in the background. It’s the only R rated (and we really mean R rated this time) movie in our recommendations, so viewer discretion is advised. (More info on IMDb)

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  • Sky
  • http://www.deadesq.com dave

    One of the cool things about Without Limits is that they used really good runners for the race scenes. Lasse Viren was played by Pat Porter, who unfortunately is no longer with us. And a couple of my old training partners were in there, too. The racing scenes were legitimate. Billy Crudup must have had to work to keep up with those guys.

  • Ken

    i can’t believe that “Endurance” was not on the list for the best running movies. are you kidding me? maybe the best running movie ever. have you guys not seen this ’99 classic about Haile Gebrselassie? jeeez!!
    “Unbreakable” and “Without Limits” two and three IMHO.

  • Matt

    Have not seen it – but it’s on our list now! Thanks for giving it a shout out.

  • Jim

    You left out “Spirit of the Marathon”