If you’re an athlete and you run to stay fit, it’s highly probable that the thought of participating in a marathon has occurred to you at least once.

Thankfully, while running a marathon is a high endurance activity which requires training and perseverance, the personal feeling of achievement is well worth the effort.

So, once you’ve already taken the decision of running in a marathon, how do you prepare? Because beyond the physical training, I believe that are other factors such as the moral strength, the courage, or the motivation that you need to work on.

Well, you can begin by learning from the best. Here are 5 inspirational movies to help motivate the passionate runner and the sedentary person alike.

Spirit of the marathon


Spirit of the marathon brings together well known professional marathon runners who share thoughts about the feelings involved in such an achievement, but also normal people who intent to embark on the journey of the marathon for the first time.

Following the struggles of six people who prepare for the Chicago marathon, the documentary reveals aspects such as why some people spend months preparing for a marathon, how it is possible to participate even at 70 years or why some people are so eager to win.

The day of the marathon shows all the six participants successfully finishing the race. And even though not all of them won, at least all of them enjoyed the experience. It’s that feeling of achievement that matters. I guess that’s the most important part.

Marathon Challenge (Nova PBS documentary)

A group of people living a sedentary life with no kind of physical activity agree to be trained to run for the Boston Marathon.

The movie stresses the benefits that sports bring to your body, having as living proof a group of people put in a training and diet program, whose condition is closely monitored.

The idea that everything is possible becomes reality, as the group travel from no physical activity to running a marathon in no time.

Maybe if you were some of those persons procrastinating the moment when you’ll start your run, the movie will inspire you to get out of your comfort zone and start training.

Run for Your Life

Run for your life, the movie about the creator New York Marathon is one of those movies that portray a brilliant man determined to make his dream come true, dream that will inspire thousands of people and become one of the most popular sport events in the world.

Fred Lebow and his initiative to run through New York is the center piece of discussion between well known athletes. The story of the former president of the New York Road Runners Club, born in Romania, is revealed in the eyes of other fellow colleagues, and in footage of the runner himself.

I’d say this is not a sports movie. It’s the story of a man turning a personal wish into the popular American movement. That’s enough to get some inspiration from, no matter what dream you have.

Ultramarathon Man: 50 marathons – 50 states – 50 days

Beyond the powerful title that shows an almost impossible mission, the purpose of Dean Karnazez is not only to prove a high endurance race, it’s to make a wake up call to those who don’t practice enough sports: to get off their couches and start running.

Those who like to push their physical and emotional limits will certainly enjoy watching Ultramarathon Man. Remarkable is also the fact that people of all ages join Dean in his journey that culminates with completing the New York Marathon, and also running from New York to St Louis, Missouri covering a 1 300 miles journey.

And if the movie isn’t enough for a proof of endurance, you can go further by reading Dean Karnazez’s best-seller, Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner.

Chariots of fire

The 1981 Oscar winner, Chariots of fire features the story of two very different athletes who train to run in the Paris Olympics.

As different from each other as they can be, their purpose is to win to prove something to the world. One fights to change the conception of Jews in the eyes of the world, while the other believes that it is his religious faith that will make him win.

The movie can be appreciated not only from the sports admirer point of view. The beauty of the characters and their determination to win is what makes this movie worthwhile watching, either training for a marathon or not.

What other movies would you add to the list? Maybe movies more focused on the training part than on the feeling part?

Featured photo by Charlie LLewellin on Flickr.