I’m still kind of new to the best running and trail films with the exception of ‘Unbreakable’ and a handful of The Ginger Runner YouTube films so needless to say I was stoked when I learned that Fleet Feet Columbus and Rocks & Roots were bringing Rainshadow Running’s Trail Running Film Festival to Columbus (and at PJ & I’s favorite theater – Studio35!).
The fest consisted of 14 different films, ranging from 7-20 minutes each, which was just enough time to give you a look into them but some of them left you wanting more. I couldn’t believe how quickly time passed and it made me SO ready to get out and see more, do more and push more. Perfect timing that the film fest was just one week before Georgia Death Race!
Films shown were the following:
2013 Mountain Marathon – a 7,000K elevation race in Alaska which you could reach in ONLY 3 MILES. I have no doubt why they call it the “hardest short trail race”. The people are straight scrambling on parts of this race, so much that there was a clip of the second place runner slipping, dislocating his shoulder, popping it back in himself and carrying on with the race. Ultra runners are hardcore athletes, no yelling for the Athletic Trainer here.
Beacon Rock 50K– cool little preview of this Rainshadow Running race which looks like a really chill, down-to-earth race where you get views of the Cascades (Mt. Hood & Mt. Adams-swoon) and the entire Columbia River Gorge. The best ultras will give you the views, that’s for sure.
The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young– this is a pretty well-known race in the ultra community but every time I hear or see something about it, it just makes me excited that one day I might have the opportunity to do it. The Barkley is considered one of the toughest 100 milers out there with 59,100ft. of climb and equal amounts descent. There’s limited aid, if any, the course isn’t marked and there have only been 16 finishers in the history of the race.
100 Miles High A story of the Hardrock 100, one of the hardest out there. This race followed ultrarunner Darcy Piceu Africa training for and following along her journey during the 2013 race. I didn’t know much about Darcy before this but I can say with certainty now that she’s a BA. Hardrock has 33,000 feet of vertical gain throughout the course, which isn’t nicely groomed in most places. At places like Hardrock you have the risk of weather conditions that can change in an instant, altitude sickness and more. So crazy we just might need to try it 😉
The Crossing– followed the journey of ultrarunner Nick Triolo who used his endurance for a cause, organizing a 70-mile protest run across the Baja Peninsula to protest open pit gold mining. This drew a lot of attention because it was the first time anyone had ever crossed the peninsula’s entirety in one day. To some, it may look like Nick gave the people in this region something but you could tell quite the contrary, as many who weren’t “runners” joined him on this journey and seemed to give themselves even more.
——-Here is where we had intermission and PJ WON $100 TO FLEET FEET! I squealed, loudly, but I couldn’t help it. I rarely win anything! (I bought the film fest tickets for the both of us so you tell me, who’s gift card is it??) ——————
2014 Gorge Waterfalls 100K I’d seen this before only because I’m a Ginger Runner fan but it was worth a second watch. The views on this course, located in Oregon, are incredible and I can’t even imagine what they’re like in person. You run past the second largest waterfall in the US. I can see why the 50K is a lottery system each year and James Vaner, race director and owner of Rainshadow Running, said the 100K isn’t a lottery. This one’s going on my list.
100: Head/Heart/Feet this was just a film preview, but it follows an ultrarunner attempting to run the Vermont 100 Endurance Run, taking a look at all the surrounding details of a runner, the intense training and how it effects relationships with others. Via their site, I saw the video is supposed to be available for streaming May 22
3022 ft. a longer film following Mt. Marathon, focusing more on the nature and history of the race instead of just the record-breaking year that was featured in the 2013 Mountain Marathon film we saw at the beginning of the fest.
Depressions – a few moments from 30 miles in the canyon Probably my second favorite of the day (first down below) because of its realness. Rob Krar took the ultra world by storm just a couple years ago and this unstaged short film digs into a part of Krar you most likely wouldn’t notice at first glance because you’re too in awe of his talents. Krar talks about his depression and how it actually helps in ultras, especially when things get dark, which is a place he’s sort of comfortable in. It’s just great to see someone using a powerful medium to fight depression and come out on the other side but be open and honest about it.
Project Talaria – Roll Out “Instructional Video” HA! This one had a lot of people LOL’ing, me included. We all know the importance of foam rolling, even though most of us neglect it, so it was refreshing to have a comical spin on a rather stale topic. Kudos, Talaria.
Around Patagonia two best friends on a journey through the mountains of Patagonia in an attempt to get the FKT with an injury that comes up and changes things a bit (I won’t spoil for anyone who wants to watch it).
The Long Haul – John Muir Trail This. This. This. This was my favorite. The ~30min. film follows Mike Wolfe and Hal Koerner (huge fan of this dude after reading his book Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning) who attempt to break the record for running The John Muir Trail, 211 miles of mountain trail on the Pacific Crest Trail (in the Sierra Nevada Mountains). The best part about this is you really get the raw emotions of attempting such an event, the mental and physical stress it puts on your body as you see the toll it takes on these experienced ultrarunners. Dudes are the quite the duo.
And that’s a wrap. But like I said, I didn’t want this to be over. I wanted to continue to be inspired and encouraged to explore more of the world on foot.
Varner said that Rainshadow Running will be back around October/sometime this Fall with new films. Can’t. Wait. Take my money, give me my ticket!