The 10 Best Ultra Running Documentaries
Ultra running involves running very long distances in arduous environments, often referred to as ‘ultra-endurance’ sport. Endurance running has become a popular sport in recent years, attracting many athletes who are drawn to its challenge and the thrill of pushing beyond their boundaries. As well as providing aspirational viewing for athletes, ultra running documentaries offer an interesting insight into the vibrant and growing community of ultra runners. Here is a selection of the best ultra running documentaries available.
This documentary follows ultrarunner, Marshall Ulrich, on his quest to become the first person to run across the United States. He attempts this feat at the age of 57, competing against runners half his age. Along his 3,000-mile journey, he experiences highs and lows and is forced to confront his own physical, mental and emotional limits. The documentary follows Ulrich as he achieves his goal and gains insight into the world of ultra running and the community it can develop.
Trail Breakers tells the story of 10 ultra runners from the UK and Europe, each with their own unique and inspiring reason for taking on some of the world’s most gruelling events. From extreme mountain ascents to multi-day races across continents, this movie captures the human spirit and passion for adventure.
The Barkley Marathons
The Barkley Marathons is one of the world’s toughest ultramarathons, taking participants through remote parts of a frozen Tennessee wilderness over a hundred-mile course. Each competitor is only given a few minutes at the starting line and they must complete the entire course within a 60-hour time limit. This documentary follows a number of competitors as they take on this epic challenge, revealing tales of superhuman endurance, courage and humour.
Running the Sahara
In this acclaimed documentary, three ultra runners attempt to run the equivalent of 3.5 full marathons per day over the Sahara Desert, from the Atlantic Coast of Senegal to the Indian Ocean of Djibouti. Through the intense physical demands of the journey, they learn lessons about perseverance, camaraderie and the power of the human spirit.
Finding Hierro follows professional ultrarunner Anton Krupicka as he attempts to set a new record for the fastest known time to cover the entire length of El Hierro, an eight-day circuit around Canary Islands’ steepest and wildest volcano. Krupicka’s journey is one of true grit and determination as he experiences some of the toughest and most incredible landscapes on the planet.
Race Across America
This movie follows six teams of cyclists as they compete in the annual Race Across America. The first race in 1982 saw 30 riders and participants, racing non-stop for 3300 miles across America. The yearly event has since developed into a global phenomenon, with entries from all over the world. The documentary captures the unique camaraderie and determination of the riders and creates an inspiring story of dedication and perseverance.
Running to the Edge
For this documentary, filmmakers follow the most successful ultras team in America for a season, as they battle for speed records in the world’s toughest races. Along the way, they discover what drives athletes to push beyond their limits and run such incredible distances.
7 Days at the Rock
7 Days at The Rock is a stunning and powerful documentary following some of the world’s most adventurous athletes, as they attempt to run one of the toughest and most extreme ultramarathons known to man. Taking place on the volcanic island of Montserrat, in the Caribbean Sea, the film documents the complete emotional and physical journey of their attempts.
Life on the Run
This inspiring and informative documentary takes viewers across the United States as it follows renowned endurance runner Dean Karnazes as he embarks on a series of incredible ultra running challenges. Through his connection with other runners, Karnazes shares his unique journey and the lessons he’s learnt along the way.
Ultrarunning guru, Dean Karnazes, stars in this documentary which follows his life-altering experiences while running ultramarathons. The movie sees him run across Death Valley in summer, compete in a 146-mile race and run 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 different states.
These 10 documentaries offer an interesting overview of the world of ultra running, showcasing the highs and lows of the sport for athletes and spectators alike. Through the stories of different athletes and races, viewers can gain insight into the unique challenge of ultra running and develop an appreciation of its draw.