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5 Must-Watch Running Documentaries on YouTube

5 Must-Watch Running Documentaries on YouTube

Last week we posted on our Instagram about five of our favourite running documentaries on YouTube.

It ended up being one of our most popular posts on the platform yet! Clearly, everyone loves a good running documentary.

Beyond the cat videos and makeup tutorials, YouTube is home to an incredible array of running documentaries that will inspire, motivate, and captivate you. From epic tales of ultramarathons to intimate glimpses into the lives of amateur athletes, these top five running documentaries will leave you lacing up your shoes and hitting the pavement in no time.

We should note, there are so many good running docos out there, but these are five that we've hand selected. Let's crack on.

1. Wes Plate: A Personal Journey into Ultra Running

Youtube Link: 

Meet Wes Plate, an American Ultra-Runner who embarked on his journey into the world of Ultra Running in 2015.

Wes' documentaries offer a refreshingly intimate perspective on the sport, with a unique first-person approach that draws viewers in from the start. Through his lens, you'll experience the highs and lows of ultra events alongside Wes himself, feeling more connected with each passing minute.

While his films may lack flashy production, their raw authenticity and genuine storytelling make them utterly captivating - that's kind of the beauty of it.

This is one that really makes you feel like you're there, experiencing the very highs, and the deep lows that ultrarunning can give you.

2. Gary Robbins - Where Dreams Go To Die: Conquering The Barkley Marathons

Youtube Link:

Prepare for an intense journey as Gary Robbins takes on the Barkley Marathons—the most grueling ultra-marathon known to humankind.

I mean really, it's wild.

Set amidst the rugged Tennessee wilderness, this documentary follows Gary's relentless pursuit of victory in a race where failure is almost expected.

It's hard to fathom really, a race that has been designed where you're expected to fail! Oh the drama.

With its unique format and unforgiving terrain, the Barkley Marathons test the limits of human endurance like no other event, making Gary's quest all the more compelling to witness.

3. GRIT by Mammut: Running Across Iceland

Youtube Link:

Experience the awe-inspiring journey of three remarkable women—Julie Hewison, Marie Gamen, and Carol Passarelli—as they set out to conquer the daunting challenge of running across Iceland.

Spanning 340 kilometers of barren landscapes, lava fields, and vibrant rhyolite mountains, the north-to-south traverse demands both physical prowess and mental fortitude.

This is a truly incredible story, but also an out-of-this-world landscape that makes you want to book a flight and head over there tomorrow.

Through breathtaking cinematography and raw storytelling, GRIT offers a compelling narrative of partnership, perseverance, and the relentless pursuit of one's dreams.

4. Jeff Pelletier: Trail Running Adventures Around the Globe

Youtube Link:

Join Jeff Pelletier, a runner and filmmaker hailing from Vancouver, Canada, on a visual journey through some of the world's most breathtaking trail races.

From the renowned UTMB World Series to obscure 7-day footraces across Namibia, Jeff's videos capture the essence of these races in a unique and captivating way.

While his content leans more towards personality-driven vlogs, his race videos are nothing short of awe-inspiring, leaving viewers inspired to embark on their own adventures. Highly recommended.

5. Sally McRae: Pushing Limits at the Tahoe 200

Youtube Link:

No list of top running documentaries would be complete without mentioning one of the most respected figures in the sport: Sally McRae.

I've got to say, Sally was one of the first people I started watching and listening to when it comes to Ultra Running.

Her YouTube channel is a gold mine of educational, inspiring, and entertaining content, with her documentary of the Tahoe 200 in 2023 standing out as a testament to her incredible resilience and determination. Through Sally's journey, viewers are reminded of the extraordinary power of mental fortitude and the unyielding spirit of the human soul - seriously. It's incredible.

Give these five running documentaries on YouTube a go and be captivated with a glimpse into the world of ultra-running, showcasing the awe-inspiring landscapes, incredible human resilience, and relentless pursuit of excellence that define the sport.

So, grab some popcorn, or an energy gel and 2L water bladder to really get in the zone, and prepare to be amazed by the extraordinary feats of endurance captured in these top-notch documentaries.

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