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The 20 Best Running Documentaries for Inspiration and Motivation

Running documentaries are a great way to stay motivated and gain inspiration. Whether you’re a beginner runner, ultra runner, professional runner, or simply love running for the sake of it – there is a running documentary for you.

Where is the best place to watch running documentaries?

Luckily, running documentaries have gained popularity and accessibility over the past few years. As the sport continues to grow, more and more runners are able to share their experience, advice and unique stories with the world.

There are plenty of running documentaries on Netflix, as well as YouTube, Hulu, Amazon Prime and more. Essentially, any place that movies can be accessed on demand is a great place to find a running documentary.

The 20 Best Running Documentaries

These running documentaries share some of the most inspirational and incredible stories. The runners’ struggles are relatable and will certainly inspire you to pursue new goals and head out for a run. Here are the 20 best running documentaries to watch this year.

15 Hours | With Amelia Boone

This documentary features the incredible endurance athlete, Amelia Boone. Follow along on her journey to return to ultrarunning after injury. You’ll certainly be inspired by her determination and sheer grit as she perseveres through every obstacle in her return.

Length: 8:32

Where to watch: YouTube, Vimeo

A Mile an Hour: Running a Different Kind of Marathon

Follow Beau’s journey as he runs one mile every hour for 24 hours. In between, he fills his time doing as much as possible. He fixes things, spends time outside and works around in his shed. While pursuing his PhD, Beau began to put on weight and is now determined to take it off. This documentary will inspire you to push yourself, pursue new goals, and use running to its full capacity.

Length: 17 minutes

Where to watch: YouTube

Boston: The Documentary

This running documentary is a story about – you guessed it – the Boston Marathon. The documentary follows the Boston Marathon from its very beginning 120 year ago to current time. It features some of the race’s most important and iconic moments throughout its history, as it progressed from 15 runners to the current qualifying standards.

Length: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Where to watch: YouTube, Google Play, Apple TV, Vudu, Amazon Prime

Breaking2

Follow three of the most advanced, elite runners as they train to break the 2 hour marathon barrier. Their training takes 6 months and is guided by the newest scientific research, as the strategically prepare to set themselves up to break 2 hours. Their training is documented, as well as their day to day life in Africa, all the up until race day in Italy.

Length: 55 minutes

Where to watch: YouTube, Amazon Prime

Desert Runners

This ultra running documentary follows a group of recreational runners as they train and attempt to complete one of the most difficult ultra-marathons in the world. Experience the highs and lows of the journey as they attempt to conquer some of the most difficult conditions and overcome the mental challenges of ultra running.

Length: 1 hour, 39 minutes

Where to watch: YouTube, Amazon Prime, Sling, Vudu, Apple TV, Google Play

Finding Traction

Follow the ultra marathon runner Nikki Kimball as she attempts to break the record for completing the 273 mile Long Trail. As she attempts to become the fastest person in history to run the trail, she is faced with many obstacles. Her training journey is documented along the way, as well as her fearless attempt to conquer the trail.

Length: 57 minutes

Where to watch: YouTube, Amazon Prime

From Fat to Finish Line

This documentary follows the stories and journeys of 12 people who each lost over 100 pounds by running. These runners complete a 200 mile Ragnar Relay Race, overcoming many mental and physical challenges that come from a formerly obese lifestyle.

Length: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Where to watch: YouTube, Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Google Play, Vudu

Hood to Coast

The Hood to Coast documentary follows different groups of atypical runners who set out to conquer the world’s largest relay race — 197 mile long Hood to Coast. Each runner has a different story, ranging from a group of animators to heart attack survivor making a second attempt at the race that almost took her life. You’ll be inspired as you watch ordinary people attempt to conquer the extraordinary.

Length: 1 hour, 42 minutes

Where to watch: YouTube, Apple TV, Vimeo, Amazon Prime

I Am Bolt

This running documentary explores the explosive career of professional runner Usain Bolt. This Jamaican runner left an incredible legacy, from winning 3 Olympic gold medals to holding the world record in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay, to being recorded as the fastest man in history.

Length: 1 hour, 47 minutes

Where to watch: YouTube, Google Play, Apple TV, Vudu, Amazon Prime

Icarus

Filmmaker Brian Fogel originally set out to document the truth about doping in sports, but unintentionally encounters a Russian scientist during the process. This thrilling documentary takes a new turn as one of the biggest scandals in sports history is uncovered, with Olympic gold medals and unexplained death along the way.

Length: 2 hours

Where to watch: Netflix

Kilian Jornet: Path to Everest

Kilian Jornet, the world’s greatest mountain runner, successfully completed a double ascent of Mt. Everest in a single week – alone and without oxygen support. Follow his journey as he accomplishes this extraordinary feat in May 2017.

Length: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Where to watch: YouTube, Amazon Prime, Google Play, Apple TV

Paula Radcliffe: The Marathon and Me

This running documentary features Paula Radcliffe, a world-record holder in the marathon, reflects on her running journey. Runners will be inspired with her story, as she talks about her three London Marathon wins as well as her journey to overcome injury, her highs and lows, as well as the future of the sport.

Length: 38 minutes

Where to watch: YouTube

Runner

Follow the inspiring and heart-wrenching journey of one man from refugee to Olympian. Guor Maker was captured and enslaved when he was just 8 years old – forced to gain freedom by running through Sudan and Egypt to a refugee camp. Watch his story unfold as he arrives in the United States and 16 years old, using running as a way to fit in a make friends, all the way through his Olympic attempts at running with a South Sudanese flag.

Length: 1 hour, 28 minutes

Where to watch: YouTube

Skid Row Marathon

Judge Craig Mitchell, a Los Angeles judge, starts a running club on Skid Row. This documentary follows their running journeys as they attempt to overcome addictions, gain independence, and work towards a second chance at life. This documentary displays the life-changing possibilities that come from running.

Length: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Where to watch: YouTube, Amazon Prime, Roku, Google Play, Apple TV

The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Run

This documentary exposes more about the wild, unique race that has only seen 10 finishers in its first 25 years. The Barkley Marathons are known for their cult-like experience, as their unique challenges draw only the fiercest, bravest competitors.

Length: 1 hour, 29 minutes

Where to watch: YouTube, Amazon Prime

The Human Race

The Human Race follows six runners ages 50 – 90 while they train for the biggest race of their lives. Each of these runners has a different story, and have a wide range of experience. From beginner runners training for their very first 5k to elite runners going for a goal. This running documentary is unique, relatable and inspiring for runners in all different walks of life.

Length: 1 hour, 28 minutes

Where to watch: YouTube, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Vudu

The Unknown Runner

Discover the story of Kenyan runners as they train, live and work hard to accomplish their dreams. This documentary follows some of the world’s most under-appreciated athletes as they persevere with grit through their daily lives, while still managing to train and compete at some of the highest levels.

Length: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Where to watch: YouTube, Amazon Prime, Apple TV

Transcend

Follow Wesley Korir, a Kenyan runner, who uses long-distance running as a way to escape the poverty of his home country. Learn how he trained and competed, while overcoming countless challenges and risks involved with daily life in Kenya, to win multiple American marathons – including the Boston Marathon.

Length: 1 hour, 22 minutes

Where to watch: YouTube, Amazon Prime

Unbreakable: The Western States 100

This documentary follows the journey of four undefeated mountain runners as they prepare to race the oldest and most prestigious 100 mile race in the world. The Western States 100-mile Endurance Run requires grit and physical stamina to complete – let alone win. Follow the competition as these runners attempt to win by breaking the course record.

Length: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Where to watch: YouTube, Amazon DVD

These running documentaries are sure to inspire and motivate. From runners who conquer incredible obstacles, to beginner runners working towards a goal for the first time, you’ll find some relatable stories for runners in every walk of life. Try one or all of them today!

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