Nothing is quite as motivating as a good running movie. Whether it depicts the triumph of the human spirit, individuals overcoming adversity or striving to reach dreams, running stories make great material for the big screen.
Instead of settling in for a Netflix marathon, consider a movie marathon where you write your own lineup to view! Here are some of the top running movies!
Our Top 10 Movies About Running!
1. McFarland USA
A football coach turned cross country coach, Jim White is more than a little out of his element. McFarland USA tells the story of a team of athletes from a mostly Latino high school. The movie documents the journey these real boys traveled from a bunch of ragtag, inexperienced athletes transforming to state champions.
This movie is a must-see not only for running enthusiasts, but for anyone who loves to cheer for the underdog.
2. Barkley Marathon: The Race That Eats Its Young
The Barkley Marathon isn’t actually a marathon; rather, it is an ultramarathon event held on unforgiving terrain in a state park in Tennessee. The Barkley course travels roughly 100 miles and must be done within 60 hours in order for the participant to have completed it. Limited to just 40 participants in a secretive entrance process that requires runners to include a letter on why they should be accepted into the race, the grueling test of human desire and will typically fills the day registration opens.
Since only 15 people have actually finished this race, it stands to reason that it would make a fascinating documentary. Amazon ratings earn this movie a 4.8 with 276 ratings.
Steve Prefontaine is a highly revered icon in the running community. Unsuccessful in football, he turns to track in attempt of making a name for himself. Reviews on this movie are quick to point out that this movie about running is true to Prefontaine’s character, showing him as he really was – flaws and all.
The movie follows Pre from his humble beginnings to his tragic death in a car accident. This running movie is an absolute must-see for anyone who loves track and field.
4. Chariots of Fire
Chariots is well known and loved by runners everywhere. It follows the training of two men as they prepare for the 1924 Olympics. The men are extremely different, yet similarly driven. The racing scenes are incredible. The plot delves into topics of race, religion and personal strife.
Available on Amazon Prime Video, this movie earned a 4.7 out of 5 in almost 1,500 ratings. Made in 1981, this is an oldie but goodie for runners (and their non-running partners or friends!) to enjoy. Yes, feel free to pull in your spouse or mom. They will love it too. You can’t help yourself.
5. Fast Girls
Known as the Chariots of Fire of the modern-day, Fast Girls tells the story of the British women’s sprint team. This movie features the story of women from opposite sides of the track coming together as part of the same team.
Getting strong reviews as a feel-good and triumphant story, it is rated G which makes it a fantastic choice for the whole family. What a way to get the kids excited about track and field!
6. Brittany Runs A Marathon
Rotten Tomatoes describes this movie about running in this way, “Brittany Forgler is a hilarious, friendly, hot mess of a New Yorker who always knows how to have a good time, but at 27, her late-night adventures and early-morning walks-of-shame are starting to catch up to her. When she stops by a Yelp-recommended doctor’s office in an attempt to score some Adderall, she finds herself slapped with a prescription she never wanted. Forced to face reality for the first time in a long time, Brittany laces up her Converse and runs one sweaty block. The next day, she runs two. Soon she runs a mile. Brittany finally has direction–but is she on the right path?”
Truthfully? People either seemed to love or hate Brittany. But enough people seemed to love it that it made the top ten running movies list.
7. Run, Fat Boy, Run!
This ridiculous romantic comedy is all about a guy trying to win back the girl of his dreams. Ironically, he ends up training for a marathon in order to do so. Ratings on this movie for runners vary as some find it predictable, but aren’t most romantic comedies predictable? It has some excellent laughs and you will find yourself rooting for the underdog in this movie.
It made for the perfect entertainment for me while I did a 14-mile training run once. It’s one of those movies about running you don’t really have to focus on; you can just relax and lose yourself in the story.
8. The Long Green Line
The Long Green Line documents the cross country season of a group of runners seeking their 25th state title in 50 years. To anyone new to the sport of cross country, it needs to be stated that there are 7 runners on a varsity cross country team and only 5 of them can score. Coach Newton has 214 young men running for York, just to be a part of Coach Newton’s amazing program.
The movie traces a story not just of running, but of tough life lessons when two top athletes find themselves in trouble and unable to compete. Mark this one down to come back to. You won’t regret it.
9. Spirit of the Marathon
Just as the title states, this is a movie about the spirit of the marathon. It traces the journey traveled by six athletes, all from different life situations, through their struggles and triumphs of training for the marathon.
The movie features well-known elites and Average Joes through their quest to conquer the 26.2 beast to the best of their ability. Runners and non-runners alike are certain to fall in love with this 2007 movie.
10. The Rocket
None of us at Rockay had even heard of this movie before approaching an online running group for suggestions on their favorite running movies. According to Amazon, “With grand expectations from his father and the local community, a high school football star’s entire future is suddenly lost, and he must find a new way to push towards greatness.” With just around 100 reviews due to being a newer release, this movie scores a 4.6 and is on our shortlist to view!
The Only Question? Which To Watch First
There you have it: 10 epic running movies. Some are documentaries, some historic fiction, some comedy. Whatever you pick, they are all sure to please. The biggest question now is where to start. Make yourself some popcorn and pick one!