15 Inspirational Running Movies to Watch

There is nothing like being inspired by a good movie, even if it is merely fleeting. Movies are a good commodity to the soul - an audiovisual stimulant to get you started because sometimes, that is precisely what you need.  

We have taken the liberty to compile 15 of the most inspiring running movies, both old and modern, that you may want to consider having a look-see. You are welcome. Oh and, spoiler alert!

Without Limits (1998)

Produced by renowned actor and director Tom Cruise, Without Limits documents the relationship between record-breaking distance runner Steve Prefontaine (Billy Crudup) and his coach Bill Bowerman (Donald Sutherland). This movie portrays the struggles of Steve, showing that even the most remarkable men are mere mortals.

Spirit of the Marathon (2008)

Spirit of the Marathon is a documentary film which follows the training and participation of six marathon runners in the 2005 Chicago Marathon. It is a down-to-earth film illustrating the different motivations that each of the six has for taking part in the marathon, and the hard work they have to endure leading up to race day. Sounds familiar? Perhaps there is a little bit of them in all of us. If this film tickles your pickle, check out Spirit of the Marathon II, which documents the Rome Marathon this time round.

McFarland, USA (2015)

One of the more serious Disney movies, McFarland, USA recounts the true story of the 1987 McFarland cross country team. The gist of the movie revolves around Jim White (Kevin Costner), the main protagonist and the challenge of having to adapt to a new environment, while training potential runners and helping them overcome setback after setback. As the team takes part in the championships, will they eventually succeed? We will leave that for you to find out.

Saint Ralph (2004)

Not your average serious marathon flick, Saint Ralph is a comedy-drama and fictional film about a hyperactive teenager, Ralph Walker (Adam Butcher), who is forced to take up running to stay out of trouble. However, tragedy strikes as his mother falls into a coma, and he decides to run the prestigious Boston Marathon in the hopes that it will wake her up.

Have you ever thought that it would take a miracle for you to complete a marathon? Well, Ralph thought of that and did it. You can, too.

Running the Sahara (2007)

As if a normal marathon or an ironman's is not enough to quell the raging spirit in your heart, Running the Sahara is a documentary film that chronicles three men's bid to run across the Sahara Desert, all 6920 kilometres of it. If you think Singapore's heat is anything to complain about, the arid furnace of sand and sun that is the Sahara Desert is definitely on a whole new level.

Also, Matt Damon will be narrating the events that unfold.

The Jericho Mile (1979)

Set in an actual prison, the Folsom Prison, California, The Jericho Mile tells the story of a prisoner, Larry Murphy (Peter Strauss) who was convicted of murder under questionable circumstances. Larry then develops an obsession with running around the prison yard, where his blistering pace catches the eye of many. As he receives help in training for the Olympics without even knowing if he is eligible, this movie knows how to make our excuses for not training harder irrelevant.

Run Fatboy Run (2007)

It seems like 2007 was a good year for running movies. Anyway, Run Fatboy Run is a comedy film about Dennis Doyle (Simon Pegg), who attempts to compete in the Nike River Marathon in a bid to win his fiance back. This movie comes with yet another "beating the odds" plot, but with a nice, comical twist to it. A good example of how laughter is sometimes the best medicine, even when it comes to curing a lack of motivation.

Endurance (1999)

Legendary Ethiopian runner Haile Gebrselassie appears as himself in this docudrama which revolved around his early days, and the trials and tribulations that he has had to overcome to achieve what he has achieved today (2 Olympic Gold medals along with a slew of other awards). Think of it as getting a pep talk from the man who has experienced it all in the world of running. 

Running (1979)

Michael Douglas plays a marathon runner who is a US hopeful for the 1976 Olympic Games. Running switches between his life on the track and his life off it, both of which are fraught with problems. This movie tells the beautiful tale of endurance - how one man fought until the very end.

Running Brave (1983)

Everyone loves a good comeback, especially in competitions. Running Brave documents the life of North American Indian runner Billy Mills (Robby Benson), who against all odds, became the best distance runner in the world in the 1964 Olympics which was held in Tokyo. This movie relives the moment, and every ounce of emotion, as Billy bounces back from 3rd place to take the gold medal.

On the Edge (1986)

Bruce Dern plays Wes Holman, a long distance runner who finds himself disgraced for exposing the corruption that is rife in the sport. He decides to redeem himself by entering the Dipsea Race - an extremely demanding mountainous footrace. Follow his journey as he strives to condition himself for the race, all while sticking true to what he believes in.

Four Minutes (2005)

This documentary film is about a runner whose name rings a bell for many: Roger Bannister - the man who became the first in history to run a mile in under four minutes, hence the name of the film. Four Minutes recounts his journey there, with plenty of motivation in store for all you avid runners.

If I Had Wings (2013)

This movie is about Alex Taylor (Richard Harmon), a 17-year-old who dreams of running for his high school's cross-country team. As most running movies go, this is also about overcoming personal difficulties and putting everything on the line to achieve one's goals only that in this case, Alex is blind. Will he, with the help of teen delinquent Brad (Jaren Bartlett), be able to make the cut?

Forrest Gump (1994)

By far the most critically-acclaimed movie on this list, and it happens to be about running, too. Tom Hanks plays the lovable Forrest Gump, a mentally-slow man with an amazing heart. The movie focuses on the many stages of his life - his years in school, his love life, his stint in football, and his enlistment in the military. After his childhood sweetheart Jenny (Robin Wright) leaves him, he embarks on an accidental three-year coast-to-coast marathon, simply because Jenny has told him that if he ever finds himself in trouble: run.

Homerun (2003)

Oh no, we have not forgotten about Singapore's local gem, Homerun. This film is a classic for many reasons. Set in 1965, it brings to mind many memories from that period of uncertainty, be it first-hand or through the lips of your parents. More to the topic at hand, though, it tells the story of Kiat Kun (Shawn Lee), a young boy from an impoverished family who aims to finish third in the National Primary School Cross Country Competition to win a pair of shoes for his sister Seow Fang (Megan Zheng). Homerun depicts a tale of struggle and sheer determination those very traits that resonate with many runners as they aspire towards their very best.

Have you ever thought that it would take a miracle for you to complete a marathon? Well, Ralph thought of thatand did it. You can, too.


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LIV3LY Editor
LIV3LY Editor

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