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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Movie Review: UltraMarathon Man

Last Thursday I got the chance to see the premiere showing of UltraMarathon Man: 50 Marathons, 50 States, 50 Days. Overall, my feelings about this movie were kind of mixed for me. The movie follows Dean Karnazes on his journey to run 50 consecutive marathons-one in each state-to raise awareness for childhood obesity. A few of the races were actual scheduled marathons for the city, but the majority of them were recreated. On these recreated marathons, people could join him for part of his run or even the full 26.2.

I kept expecting Karnazes to break down physically, but he never really did. Honestly (and I like a sadist for saying it, but), I was kind of looking forward to a major break-down simply because it makes for a better movie and I wanted to see him overcome the struggle. But the guy is a superhuman and he felt better and stronger with every race. Scientists who conducted experiments on him confirmed that he had, indeed, gotten stronger as time went on. And at the end of it all, tests showed that Karnazes's body deteriorated only 25% of what a normal human being's body would after one, single marathon. So he really is a superhuman...just like Lance Armstrong and his freakishly enlarged heart. Although amazing and interesting, it made for a semi-boring movie...I wanted to see some pain, not a walk in the park!
He did, however, have a slight mental breakdown due to the constant hounding of the media and pressure from having to always be in the spotlight. He said that when he finished running all 50, he had lost himself and lost his soul somewhere along the way. So guess what he did to find it? He got up on the 51st day and ran west. In fact, he ran 3 months straight until he had made it back to the city of the very first race. In those 3 months, he usually ran 26 miles or more.
When I left the theatre, I just kept thinking...what about his family? True, his wife and 2 small children came along for the adventure, but really, I can't see how he spent that much time with them since he was either running, talking to fans, giving interviews, eating or sleeping. And then he just runs off into the night for 3 months after the 50 day challenge? If I were his wife, I'd be pissed. I mean, I know that running is his job and that running is vital to his health and happiness, but're still a dad and husband.
So, while the movie was inspirational and fascinating from a scientific standpoint, It wasn't the motivating movie I'd hoped it would be. My favorite line in the whole movie was Dean's dad:
Run if you can...walk if you have to...crawl if you must....but just keep moving forward.
I love that. It might just be my favorite quote of all time.


Amy said...

okay, well I'm glad I didn't drive to franklin to see this now. It's so hard to relate to someone when they are "superhuman." Great cause and great accomplishment, though.

Kel said...

I'm with you on this one...the movie just wasn't what I thought it would be. As a wife...yep I'd probably have been irritated, but then again, I have to think that during some of that time I would have gotten used to it and it wouldn't have bothered me much. Seriously, people don't just wake up one day and decide this is something they want to is a lot of work to get to that point, so I'm sure the wife kind of expected at least part of it.

Just my thoughts!

Joe said...

did you ever read his book? i thought the book was actually pretty good, better than i suspected this movie would be (and judging from your and kel's comments, i think i was pretty close in my impression of what this would be).

watch movies said...

Great post. I actually read the book but was pretty confused that if the movie be better as the book was. After reading the review I am excited to watch it.