Unbreakable: The Western States 100

Last night Amy and I watched the movie Unbreakable: The Western States 100Our friends Pam and Mark Solon gave it to us. It was awesome, powerful, riveting, and inspirational. If you are a long distance runner, or athlete of any kind, you will love it. More after the trailer below.

While my experience with marathons is now extensive (22 to date), my experience with ultras is limited to one – the American River 50. I learned an enormous amount from my ultra – mostly about myself – and wrote about it twice – two weeks after the race in a post titled The Physiological And Emotional Fallout Of My 50 Mile Race and then six weeks later in a post titled I’m Finally Recovered From My 50 Mile Run.

While I’d love to try another 50 and even do a 100 miler, I’ve decided that it’s just not realistic or healthy (emotionally) for me given my current work and travel dynamics. I’m comfortable with that decision and have doubled down on the marathon running while tossing in some road biking (today’s ride will be 35 miles, the longest to date) for variety  and mostly to amuse my partner Seth.

It was extremely powerful and motivating to watch this movie. The Western States 100 is the original ultramarathon that was first run by  Gordy Ainsleigh in 1974 (he’s in the movie – and he is awesome.) There are four main characters in the race that the movie follows.

  • Hal Koerner, two time defending Western States champion, and running store entrepreneur from Ashland, Oregon.
  • Geoff Roes, undefeated at the 100-mile distance, an organic chef from Juneau, Alaska.
  • Anton Krupicka, undefeated in every ultramarathon he has ever started, a graduate student living in Boulder, Colorado.
  • Kilian Jornet, the young mountain runner and two time Ultra-trail du Mont-Blanc champion, from Spain.

Four amazing ultra runners (two undefeated) going after the win and a world record from the very beginning of the race. The movie does a great job of mixing drama with personality with footage of the race. While I don’t know any of the runners, I’ve been passed by Krupicka running in the mountains in Boulder (he’s easy to recognize) and I related to different parts of each of their stories.

As I look out my window in Keystone this morning I see a beautiful blue sky with a layer of fog in the meadow behind my house. The mountains are in the background. While I’ll be on a bike today getting ready for a week long bike trip (my first) the love that these four guys have for running will echo in my mind. When people ask me why I run marathons, it’s easy – I love to run. So do they. Watch the movie and be inspired.

  • I love running movies. Running book wise check out Running with the Buffalos about the University of Colorado XC team in the late 90s. Written by a east coast school boy legend.

    • It’s an awesome book.

  • Great tip. We will watch it.

    Were starting a little green and raw food biz on the side that pre launch has attracted a small number of extreme athletes from cross fitters to runners to Bikram yoga instructors.

    These individuals, of every size, shape and age are each one examples of extreme dedication and focus. For this alone, the endeavor has been worthwhile already.

  • Awesome movie! If you want some in-person ultra action, the Leadville 100 is taking place this weekend. Not too far from Keystone. Pretty stacked field; should be a good race.

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  • One of the things that caught me in the trailer was the references to the athletes as centered, humble and kind. Which is interesting since I feel many times that my runs are meditative. Brad, did you find that you came to your days more centered or focused when you were training for your 50-miler?

    • I think I’ve been on a steadily increasing contemplative path for a long time.

  • nice video promo for the movie. Extreme athletes are unique individuals who get enjoyment from what they do – I believe that is main ingredient from doing these types of extreme sports. For the record @bfeld:disqus I also put you in the extreme category for running (and continuing to) run so many marathons.

  • Loved that preview. I’ve fallen off the running wagon the past two years, partly due to injuries and partly due to bad habits. Seeing stuff like that reminds me of how much I love running, how it feels to go for miles down a lonely, beautiful trail. I miss it.

    Okay, going to go run now.

  • Very cool. Thanks for the tip on this film, Brad. Looks awesome.

    The WS is right in my backyard (almost literally) and we have run and hiked many segments of the trail (and it’s tributaries). I’m not a long-distance runner, but I feel lucky to have so many miles of great trail available so close (living in Auburn on the American River canyon). We spend a fair bit of time in the high country and part of that is on or around the WS trail.

  • Brad! Great to hear you are starting to bike. When do we get to ride with you?! You know the million dollar question … are you going to shave your legs? Seth has been wrestling with that one for a while now.

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