I was on the search for the Top Running Movies of the 21st Century. I don’t know about you, but I do enjoy watching a good movie about running. It actually gets me motivated. As we know, running has changed drastically in the last few years, let alone the last 20. Obviously, this Top Running Movies of the 21st Century list is not exhaustive, and there are plenty more.
What are the Top Running Movies of the 21st Century?
- McFarland, USA (2015)
This inspiring film tells the true story of a coach who shapes a group of novice runners into a competitive cross-country team. It’s a tale of community, cultural identity, and overcoming socio-economic barriers. It’s actually based not far from me in California, and there is even a McFarland Half Marathon in April.
- Spirit of the Marathon (2007)
This documentary follows five runners doing the Chicago Marathon, capturing the essence of what it means to be a marathon runner, from elite athletes to first-time amateurs. If you are running a marathon anytime soon, this is definitely a motivational movie.
- Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019)
If you are looking for a light-hearted and fun movie, Brittany Runs a Marathon is at the top of the list. Brittany, who is not a runner, decides to train for a marathon.
- Run Fatboy Run (2007)
This was actually a new one to me and a perfect edition to the Top Running Movies of the 21st Century. A light-hearted comedy about a man who enters a marathon to win back his ex-fiancée, only to discover his own potential in the process. It’s a story of redemption and self-discovery.
- The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young (2014)
Before this documentary came out, most people hadn’t even heard of the Barkley Marathons. This is one of the most intense races out there. This documentary delves into one of the most bizarre and challenging ultra-marathons in the world, offering a fascinating glimpse into the world of extreme endurance sports. Most of us will never run the Barkley Marathons, so it’s fun to get a glimpse into what that world is about.
- 4 Minute Mile (2014)
The film follows a talented high school runner who, under the guidance of a reclusive coach, strives to escape his troubled life through athletic success. These are some of my favorite types of motivational movies.
- Saint Ralph (2004)
This Canadian comedy-drama focuses on a ninth-grade runner who believes that winning the Boston Marathon would be a miracle that could bring his mother out of a coma. This isn’t just a Top Running Movies of the 21st Century, it’s one of the best running movies of all time.
- Running the Sahara (2007)
I thought the Mojave Desert was hot, but this documentary, narrated by Matt Damon, chronicles the journey of three men running across the Sahara Desert, covering six countries and over 4,300 miles.
- Personal Best (2012)
This film examines the lives of professional female athletes as they train for the Olympics, delving into their personal lives and the challenges they face. I always appreciate seeing how elite athletes train.
- Marathon (2005)
A South Korean film based on the true story of an autistic marathon runner, it’s a moving portrayal of determination and the bond between the runner and his mother.
- Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013)
This Indian biographical sports drama is based on the life of Milkha Singh, an Indian Olympian and national champion runner, known as “The Flying Sikh.” Based in the 1960s, Singh has several struggles while finding his way and eventually setting records. If you are looking for a movie to invoke almost every emotion, this is a good one.
- Unbroken (2014)
Directed by Angelina Jolie, this war film tells the story of Olympian Louis Zamperini. Zamperini has a near-fatal plane crash and finds himself in a Japanese concentration camp.
- Run All Night (2015)
Although not strictly a running movie, this action thriller involves a protagonist in a relentless pursuit, requiring not just physical stamina but also mental resilience. Running is definitely a theme in Run All Night, but it’s not the only theme.
- 100 Meters (2016)
A Spanish film about a man who, despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, strives to complete an Ironman triathlon. He is told he probably cannot even complete 100 meters.
- Race (2016)
This biographical sports drama focuses on the incredible story of Jesse Owens, the legendary African-American athlete who triumphed at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
- Skid Row Marathon (2017)
A documentary about a criminal court judge who starts a running club on L.A.’s Skid Row, helping its members to regain their self-worth and battle addiction. They end up overcoming a lot and, spoiler alert, running a marathon.
- The Runner (2015)
This American political drama uses running as a metaphor for the protagonist’s journey through personal and professional turmoil. A teenage drifter and thief woke up one morning in a storage shed in Utah and decided to turn over a new leaf and get his life on track.
- Tracktown (2016)
Directed by pro runner Alexi Pappas, this drama about a young long-distance runner, living in a tightly controlled world, who faces unexpected challenges on and off the track.
- I Am Bolt (2016)
A documentary giving a behind-the-scenes look at the life of Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man at the time, and his journey to achieve triple-triple Olympic gold. Of course a documentary about the world’s fastest man
- Run for Your Life (2008)
This documentary features New York City Marathon race director Fred Lebow. He found a way to give back to the community and New York.
Top Running Movies of the 21st Century Conclusion:
As you can see, there is no shortage of Top Running Movies of the 21st Century. If you are looking for some motivation or just looking to see others gutting it out, there are plenty of options for you.
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Questions for you:
What is your Top Running Movies of the 21st Century?
What is your all time favorite running movie?