12 of the Best Running Films
There is nothing better than a great running film and with the Oscars around the corner, it’s a good chance to highlight our favourites.
1) Ben Nevis + Year 4 Ramsay's Round (2020)
If you want to treat yourself to some breathtaking landscape, take a look at this fascinating documentary about Ramsay's round. The short film follows a young female runner (Alicia Hudelson) who sets out to see if she can cover all 24 peaks of the run (56 miles) in the required time of 24 hours. It includes interviews with Charlie Ramsay himself.
2) Running for Good – The Fiona Oakes Documentary (2018)
If you only have time to watch one new film, please watch this. It follows the story of world record marathon holder, Fiona Oakes who was told (aged 14) she would never walk properly and has no kneecap, as she prepares for the Marathon des Sables. When she’s not running Fiona spends her time devoted to the 450+ animals in her sanctuary. She is a rare combination of gritty determination and compassion.
3) The Barkley Marathons (2014)
In its first 25 years, only 10 people have ever completed this 100 km ultra marathon race, which is based on a prison escape and has a cut-off of 60 hours. The alternative is the 60km event, which is known as the “fun run.”
4) How Not to Run 55 Miles (2020)
BBC Radio 1Xtra presenter and DJ Reece Parkinson sets out run the Cheviot Goat Ultra, exploring whether a casual runner can succeed at an ultra. It's clear that the mind plays a huge part in challenges such as this one.
Drama / Comedy
5) Run Fat Boy Run (2007)
This film starring Simon Pegg is about a non-runner who enters a marathon as a drunken bet. We follow his haphazard training through to the inevitable raceday drama. Funny and heart warming in equal measure.
6) The Office (American) – Fun Run – Season 4, Episodes 1/2 (2007)
When office manager Michael Scott insists everyone enters a 5km charity race, chaos ensues. From the errors of carbo-loading to bleeding nipples, this is one of our favourite episodes from The (american) Office.
7) Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
This may not be a running film per se but contains plenty of running scenes. When Pat attacks his wife’s lover and is sent for therapy he turns to running to help sort himself out.
8) Unbroken (2014)
Based on the excellent book of the same name and directed by Angelina Jolie, this film tells the true life story of Louis Zamperini, a US Olympic track record holder who ends up a prisoner of war during the Second World War.
9) Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019)
This film has won rave reviews “An uneven but essentially likeable story about the joys of setting yourself improbable goals and the tribes you can find as a result, with a strong, committed performance from Bell at its heart.” – Empire
10) Forrest Gump (1994)
This is a true masterpiece. Who can’t be moved by Tom Hanks in this brilliant film about a simpleton who takes to running? It’s full of brilliant quotes and 25 years after its release is still one of our all time favourites.
11) Chariots of Fire (1981)
A true classic and worth watching just for the opening scene.
12) The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)
A coming-of-age British film based on a short story, this film tells of an boy from the slums who reviews his troubled past while training for a race. Importantly it perfectly demonstrates how the pure act of running can be used as much for mental escape and wellbeing as physical fitness.
There are numerous running films we haven’t seen yet so please let us know your favourites and we’ll add them to this list. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Main photo credit: 'Chariots of Fire' - © 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved.