My blog is not turning into a book or movie review blog but I do like to tell you about things that are related to my blog’s theme. Periodically I’ll review running, outdoorsy, fitness, or travel books and movies.
Being on a Dean Karnazes kick, there was mention somewhere (maybe I saw it on his website) about the movie “Desert Runners.” I think I might have misunderstood because I thought the movie was about him doing the desert marathons. It’s not. While he does have a 30-minute segment in the special features, the movie follows four people as they prepare and attempt the Grand Slam of the Desert Ultramarathons.
“A diverse cast of non-professional runners attempt to complete the most-difficult ultramarathon race series on Earth. Their dramatic journey takes them across the World’s most picturesque yet brutal landscapes, pushing their bodies, hearts and spirits through a myriad of external and internal obstacles. DESERT RUNNERS delves into the mindset of ultra-athletes, and the complex ways in which human beings deal with both heartbreak and triumph.” – IMDB
The Desert Ultramarathon Series is comprised of four ultramarathons through the world’s toughest, most brutal deserts. The Grand Slam means doing all four in a single year. Each race is 250 km and takes 5 days. You are required to carry a backpack with all the items you need. Although I don’t have any desire right now to do an ultra race, these events seem very appealing when it comes to the camaraderie and outdoors aspect. The fact that you spread out the 250 mile between five day and ou get to travel, on foot, into parts of the world not many get to see – that is all what makes these races look cool.
I really did enjoy the movie (except the part where they show the camera all their feet and disgusting foot ailments – I hate feet). It was very interesting and inspirational. My favorite “character” is the woman Samantha who was the youngest person and first woman to get a grand slam title. She overcomes a very scary situation, perseveres and continues on.
The extras with the film were almost more enjoyable than the film itself. The film director and cinematographer interviews are super interesting because they had to be in just as good of shape as the athletes to get all of the footage. There’s also an interview with Dean Karnazes about how he prepared for his grand slam (the first to do so) as well as fun view on how to pack your bag for a race like these!
I highly recommend this movie to any ultra runner, or any runner for that matter, if you’re looking for a run-spirational movie (see what I did there?).
Not available on streaming or DVD rental via Netflix, so I checked out my version from the library. The version I watched was the Director’s Special Edition and had the extra content including the interview with Dean Karnazes. You can find it for purchase on Amazon (affiliate link):
Your turn: Have you heard of this race series? Done any of them? Would you do one of them??