True Films

Running on the Sun


This film marries three of my favorite genres: fringe characters, tales of endurance, and a contest. The contest is a 135 mile footrace — essentially five marathons back to back — held annually in Death Valley, during the brain-frying furnace of July. It ends up high on Mt. Whitney after a killer climb. The runners shuffle through the nights and don’t sleep for days. The black asphalt road is about 150 degrees. Everyone succumbs to heat exhaustion; the trick is to avoid heat stroke and death. In this year’s event there are two amputees, who hobble the entire 135 mile run on their flesh-gnawing prosthetic legs. In Death Valley, in July Why? Because the memorable characters are compelled to. The tough guys and gals puke ceaselessly and are carried away on stretchers. Surprisingly, most of the winners are in their 50s and 60s; something about pacing and knowing yourself. Even more surprising, by the time you finish watching this irrational race and the characters it attracts, you are thinking to yourself, hey, that’s so stupid it’s inspiring; I wonder if I should do this?

— KK

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Running on the Sun
Directed by Mel Stuart
2000, 102 min.
$105, DVD

Read more about the film at Wikipedia

Rent from Netflix

Available from Amazon

Posted November 4, 2005 at 5:00 am | comments


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