Almost two weeks after running my first ultra marathon, I found myself sitting on the couch on a Friday afternoon (sick day). The boys were in bed and I felt like watching a movie. I went to my Netflix streaming account and couldn't decide what I was in the mood for. I'm not sure why I typed "running" in the search box, but I did. The title "Running the Sahara" stood out. When I read it's description I was intrigued.
America's Charlie Engle, Canada's Ray Zahab and Taiwan's Kevin Lin embark on an unprecedented quest to traverse the entire Sahara desert -- on foot. Along the way, the runners encounter the beauties and hardships that accompany modern African life. Narrated by actor Matt Damon, the heart-pumping documentary tracks the athletes on their unbelievable journey through Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Libya and Egypt. James Moll directs.
Just tipping my toe into the ultra marathons, myself, I was very curious to see how these three men held up during the extreme task they were taking on. This documentary did a wonderful job combining the visual aspects of their journey as well as portraying the close personal relationships between the runners. Their internal challenges were revealed as masterfully the physical and environmental ones.
I found myself watching, not just the runners, but the crew as well, as if they were 6 of my good friends. I got frustrated when one of them was acting boorishly and I could feel myself swell with pride whenever they overcame hardships. I never once questioned why the were doing it.
I don't think you have to be a runner to enjoy this movie, for running is only the pretext. This movie is about so much more. It's about the strength of friendship. It's about conquering what other's think is impossible. It's about never giving up no matter how hard things get.