Running on the Sun Documentary Review
Running on the Sun is a documentary about the Badwater Ultramarathon. This race traverses 135 miles of desert, climbing from a few hundred feet below sea level to the top of Mount Whitney at over 8000 feet above sea level.
The runners have to climb over 13,000 feet mixed in with about 4000 feet of descent throughout the course. The cut-off to be considered a finisher is 60 hours.
I enjoyed watching the documentary. It follows about a quarter of the people in the race as they prepare themselves in the months leading up to the grand event, and then follows them as they struggle through the ordeal of actually running it.
Some of the runners finish, and some of them drop out before they even get close. You get to see the best and worst of people as they pass out and hallucinate on the side of the road, or just regurgitate now and again as they run along the course.
The highlight of the movie was definitely the characters in the film. I got quite a few laughs out of some of the folk who, even in the middle of the ordeal, managed to keep their sense of humor in good form.
For example, a man in his late sixties finishes the race and informs his wife that she’s out of luck if she expects sex from him; he was not in the mood. After two days of running in 130Aï¿½ heat I doubt that I would be in the mood either! At least he finally got his Murphy’s Stout that he had been chasing for the previous 50 miles or so before reaching the finish line.
When I first saw the movie, it in no way made me want to ever go out and run the Badwater Ultra, but it was endlessly fascinating to follow along. Now that I’ve had a little ultra experience of my own, I still don’t have much desire to run it myself but I’ve found that it’s much easier to understand what’s happening and to see where the draw must come from to run a race like this.
For the movie itself, the set was fantastic. Given that the documentary was filmed on location during the actual race, you can not much beat the desert and the mountains for scenic views. If you enjoy running or like to watch interesting documentaries, I highly recommend giving Running on the Sun a rent and taking a look at it.