Inspirational Movies to get you MOVING!!

I love watching movies.. and all kinds, too. Dramas, documentaries, comedies, suspense thriller, horror, independent, etc etc.. I’ll watch them all. Minh doesn’t LOVE movies as much as I do.. actually, I often think that he only watches movies because I want to watch movies. He gets sleepy/lazy afterwards, which does not make for a fun Minh.

Some of my favorite movies to watch are the ones that inspire me to go out and do something… and when I say “do something”, I’m not talking about saving the world or making a difference. I’m talking about going out to climb a mountain, sign up for a ridiculous race, run the “Best Race Ever” , bike hundred of miles across the state/country/continent…. you get the picture. So.. here’s a quick list of some of those movies that make me want to go out and do something… Maybe it’ll inspire you to go out and do something this year!

Race Across the Sky (2009 or 2010)

No surprise that this movie would make the cut of inspirational films. The Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race is on EVERY mountain bikers’ bucket list. I like watching the pro/elite race just like everyone else, but the real inspiration comes from the “normal” people riding that grueling 100 miles. The ones that have been doing it for years on the same bike with the same helmet and the same outfit.. or the ones that bounced back from something terrible only to make the 12 hour cut-off for that coveted belt buckle. Whoever you’re cheering for, watching the movie will either make you want to go out and ride or make you think people are CRAZY for putting themselves through that kind of hell. Me? It definitely makes me want to go out and RIDE!

Ride the Divide (2010)

The Great Divide Race usually solicits a response along the lines of: “Are you CRAZY? Do you want to DIE?!?!?” No, I’m not crazy.. and YES.. someday I would like to die.. but until then, I want to have fun and go on adventures. This is one of those adventures that I want to go on. Maybe not the entire race (which is completely solo and self-sufficient), but accomplish chunks of the race over time. How fun would it be to say that you rode your bike through the middle of the country.. BY YOURSELF!!! Best part about this race (if I ever do muster up enough gumption to actually do it) is that you can take AS LONG AS YOU WANT (I think within reason).

Bicycle Dreams (2009)

Another documentary about a race that traverses a LONG LONG LONG distance… but this time instead of dividing the country from north to south.. you set off from Coast to Coast… 3000 MILES!! This movie follows the epic journey that is the Race Across America (originally known as the Great American Bike Race, started in 1982).. across the dessert, over the mountains, traversing the Great Plains, grinding up seemingly un-ending switchbacks…. seeing America as few have seen it before. Another film that makes me want to go out and ride.

Hood to Coast (2010)

I had never even heard of Hood to Coast until I watched a trailer for a documentary about it before the 2010 Race Across the Sky showing. But.. like the spirit of the Ragnar Relay, which is really all about the experience and camaraderie and not about the race, Hood to Coast is one of those experiences that lasts a lifetime. From the base of Mount Hood to Seaside Beach, this race traverses all the beauties of Oregon that some people so rarely see. And the race draws all kinds of participants, from the elites and seasoned veterans out to win to the newbies just out for a challenge and a good time. The movie is not only enjoyable for hardcore runners who want to be inspired for their next challenge, but also non-runners who will gain a little more understanding on the craziness that drives someone to run a 5k, 10k, marathon, or ultra.

Run, Fatboy, Run (2007)

Steering away from the documentaries… here’s a HILARIOUS movie about a normal guy (Simon Pegg) who’s just trying to get his ex (Thandie Newton) back before she makes the mistake of her life by marrying a complete JERK (Hank Azaria). If you’ve ever hit “the WALL”, then you’ll totally relate to this film.. and by the end I wanted to sign up for my first marathon (DONE!).

Spirit of the Marathon (2007)

Speaking of marathons… how about a documentary about one of the BIGGEST marathons in the world? From what I’ve read/heard, THE big marathons to run (and qualify for) are Boston, New York, London and Chicago. This documentary follows the story of six runners (of varying levels of competitiveness) competing in the 2005 Chicago Marathon. It’s not just their story during the marathon itself, but how they prepared, what they’re motivation is, and all the struggles along the way. Having run two marathons (woefully unprepared) myself, I know what it’s like to hit the wall, want to give up, deal with injury, and finding the little bit of strength/will-power left to just keep going. Available on Hulu.

Touching the Void (2003)

Steering away from races, biking and running, for a moment…. here’s a great story about the will to live and having to make life-or-death decisions in perilous situations. I first watch Touching the Void with my friend Karen. Based on the 1988 book by Joe Simpson, this is a great story about two climbers (Joe Simpson and Simon Yates) and the sacrifices they made during their journey in the Peruvian Andes. I don’t want to give anything away, but tough decisions are made (and nobody dies). Part documentary/interview, part reenactment.

127 Hours (2010)

Based on the New York Times Bestseller Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston, this wonderfully filmed movie recounts the life of Aron Ralston and his entrapment in a canyon for… wait for it… 127 hours (go figure). James Franco does an amazing job portraying Aron Ralston and his mental struggle during this ordeal. Another great movie about the will to live.

Not Movies.. but Inspirational Nonetheless

NBC Sports coverage of Ironman World Championships (every year)

Every year, around December, NBC airs a special on the Ironman World Championships. Minh downloaded pretty much every single one that he could find, and I’ve watched all of them since they started doing this special, even the 25th anniversary special (which is the best). I love watching this every year because it reinforces my love for racing. It also makes me feel like a horrible person… I either want to (1) quit my job and train full time so that I can aspire to become a pro (not happening in my lifetime) or (2) hope for a life-altering struggle in which I come back to do something incredible (lose a leg, get a horrible, incurable disease, or the like).. which no one should ever hope for anyone, let alone oneself. But.. seriously.. have you watched this thing.. it’s all about the pros and then the stories of overcoming personal struggle or life’s curveballs. It’s amazing.

Molly’s Run (2009)

Image from Molly Sheridan

I had the privilege of seeing Molly Sheridan speak last year… which made me want to run the Badwater Ultramarathon… SOMEDAY!!! To go from non-runner, to marathoner, to ultramarathoner in such a short time and so late in life…. it’s reminiscent of Michelle Barton (the most kick-ass ultramarathoner out there). Her journey and race was documented in a great short by Justin Yurkanin.

You vs. Second Place (2010)

Awesome promotional videos by… Just watch… You’ll never want to be second place ever again…

So.. do YOU have any inspirational movies or videos that make you want to get out and DO SOMETHING?

4 thoughts on “Inspirational Movies to get you MOVING!!

  1. There are two movies that we’ve watched a lot. “Whatever It Takes” follows 4 professional triathletes as they prepare for the 2003 (?) Ironman Championships. We have also watched “Chasing Legends” a lot. It is a documentary that follows a team at the Tour de France in 2009 (?).

    I like your list. I forwarded to Skyler and I’m sure we’ll be watching most of them soon.

    • That was one of the first movies I ever watched with Minh.. during which we agreed to do Baja 1000 someday (this was before I started racing and bikes took over cars)… Still want to do it someday in a stock VW bug.. He wants to do it in a fixed up Bronco.. 🙂

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