Last night Amy and I watched the movie Unbreakable: The Western States 100. Our 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.