12 Best Running Movies to Inspire Your Next Challenge

Are you seeking motivation to get up, put on your running shoes, and hit the pavement? That's nothing a great training montage can't solve.

These are movies about runners for soon-to-be runners. Take your pick, have a watch, and get motivated.

1. Chariots of Fire

Ian Charleson in Chariots of Fire (1981)
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Perhaps the seminal movie about foot racing, Chariots of Fire examines the lives two British sprinters endured leading up to the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. Chariots of Fire will light a fire under you.

2. 9.79*

Carl Lewis (USA) and Ben Johnson (Canada) 100 meter race at Seoul, South Korea 1988
Image Credit: ESPN.

ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary, 9.79*, examines the spread of steroids throughout the world of professional sprinting. After watching this stellar documentary, you'll never see Carl Lewis in the same light.

3. Without Limits

Billy Crudup in Without Limits (1998)
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Without Limits is a biopic about Steve “Pre” Prefontaine, the first runner signed to Nike. Without Limits is critically acclaimed and tantamount to a scoop of “Pre”-workout. One watch, and you'll be setting personal records.

4. Forrest Gump

Tom Hanks and Robin Wright in Forrest Gump (1994)
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Forrest Gump is not a movie about running, but running is an indelible feature of the legendary film. If Forrest was going anywhere, he was run-ning. 

5. The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young

The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young
Image Credit: IMDb.

This award-winning documentary chronicles a race that only ten people could finish in its first 25 years. Considered the most brutal trail race in the world, The Barkley Marathons combines a treasure hunt with an ultra-endurance race. Think Prison Break meets The Revenant meets Chariots of Fire. 

6. Gallipoli

Mel Gibson in "Gallipoli"
Image Credit: Roadshow Film Distributors.

One of Mel Gibson's most underrated moviesGallipoli tells the story of two Australian sprinters transported from the track to the Turkish battlefields of World War I.

7. McFarland, USA

Carlos Pratts, Johnny Ortiz, Hector Duran, Rafael Martinez, Sergio Avelar, Ramiro Rodriguez, and Michael Aguero in McFarland, USA (2015)
Image Credit: Disney.

Once in a blue moon, Disney will make a sports movie that isn't as nearly as cheesy as you'd expect. McFarland, USA, is one of those rare gems. The film documents the unlikely rise of a high-school cross-country team in an impoverished California town.

8. Skid Row Marathon

skid row marathon 20171
Image Credit: IMDb.

Skid Row Marathon is a gritty documentary about a judge in Los Angeles who starts a running club, elevating homeless individuals with little purpose into competitive marathoners. If there was hope for these wayward souls, you can dust off the New Balances and go for a jog.

9. Breaking2

Image Credit: National Geographic.

A documentary from National Geographic and Nike, Breaking2 documents elite runners aiming to complete a marathon in less than two hours. A combination of elite scenery and elite athletes, Breaking2 is an aspirational film to add to your list. Just don't try to keep pace with the runners in Breaking2. 

10. Running for Good: The Fiona Oakes Documentary

Running for Good: The Fiona Oakes Documentary promotional poster
Image Credit: IMDb.

Running for Good will be an inspiration for vegan runners. Fiona Oakes ventures beyond the confines of comfort (and beyond meat) as an example of how alternative dieters can still live a hyper-active life.

11. Brittany Runs a Marathon

Jillian Bell and Micah Stock in Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019)
Image Credit: Amazon Studios.

If you're a novice runner, you might identify with Brittany. Before she decides to run the New York City Marathon, Brittany was a rosé'-guzzling, health-neglecting fool. If that sounds like you, check out Brittany Runs a Marathon.

12. Spirit of the Marathon

Spirit of the Marathon movie poster
Image Credit: IDMb.

Spirit of the Marathon captures the history of the Chicago Marathon and the day-to-day process runners endure before completing the legendary race.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Sam Mire is a freelance writer who has manned a variety of beats over nearly a decade in the literary biz. He has spent weeks in the Alaskan wildlands, immersed himself in the world of Florida's homeless population, covered live sporting events, and served as a linchpin for media outlets in the legal, tech, and entertainment spaces. Sam has been published in Fast Company, Forbes, Entrepreneur, AP News, Fox News, and, most notably, Wealth of Geeks. In his free time, he enjoys boxing, woodwork, petting his dog, and reveling in good company.