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Need running motivation? Discover documentaries that will leave you feeling inspired, motivated, and hungry for more. We all benefit from extrinsic motivation from time to time (or often…), and below are some of the best documentaries to watch when you need a push, or want to set a new goal.
Documentaries for running motivation
If you’re on a weight-loss journey, or simply want to watch people achieve an incredible feat, watch this documentary. Here, you’ll see 12 formerly obese people who tackle the 200 mile Ragnar Relay Race. Get inspired, motivated, and excited to tackle your own big challenge.
If you’re just not in the mood for your planned run and want to watch an incredible runner with a great attitude: look no further. Watch Courtney Dauwalter’s run the Tahoe 200. You will wish you were there to cheer her on, and you will be impressed by how gracefully she manages the inevitable suffering she endures. Simply put: Courtney has the best attitude and she reminds you to stay positive and humble. You can watch the documentary for free on YouTube here, and if you want to learn more about her (which you definitely will after watching the documentary) you can find out more here.
Is it hot outside? It might not seem like it after you watch legendary Fiona Oakes attempt to set a new world record and run in the Sahara desert. Watch her attempt the Marathon Des Sables, considered by many as “the toughest footrace on earth”. Watch it here.
Karl Meltzer, aka The Goat, attempts to break the speed record on the Appalachian trail. If you’ve read Scott Jurek’s books, you may have come across him and know that he and Jurek have a friendly feud. Watch the documentary for free on Vimeo here, and who knows, if you’re not a trail runner now, you might be interested in becoming one.
This is a biographical movie on a former long distance runner’s incredible running feats as a child and his relationship with his coach. Budhia Singh is known as the world’s youngest marathon runner, logging mind-boggling distances at the age of 4 and 5. This movie showcases a wild story filled with controversy. If you’ve already seen it, you might be interested in the 2011 documentary called Marathon Boy that focuses on Singh’s relationship with his coach. Watch it on Amazon here.
In the mood for something funny AND inspiring? Watch The Barkley Marathons, a documentary about a race that saw only 10 finishers in its first 25 years running. You’ll see why: the grueling terrain has no mercy. And you’ll learn about the very unexpected inspiration for the race: the prison escape of MLK’s assassin. Enjoy and laugh during this one. Find it on Amazon here.
Don’t have time to watch a movie? Good thing I’ve already curated a list of running channels with shorter videos for you here.