20 Great Movies About Running

20 Great Movies About Running

Got a rainy day to kill? Or do you want a bit more motivation for that next run? 


Running movies can provide that additional push you need to get up and go. But we didn’t just stop at 10 or 15 movies. Below, we outline 20 great movies about running. Some are documentaries. Some are just for fun. What should you be watching?

#1. Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump isn’t exactly about running. It’s an endearing story about a man with a low IQ who is set to reunite with his childhood sweetheart. Starring Tom Hanks, it won six Oscars. 


So, how does running play a part in this one? First off, ‘Run, Forrest, Run!’ is a classic line from this motion picture. Forrest had leg braces and was either running from his bullies or fighting them. He chose to take off, breaking free of his leg braces for good. 

#2. Chariots of Fire

Chariots of Fire is another award-winning picture. It’s about two sprinters in pursuit of the 1924 Olympic Games. One is a devout Christian, the other Jewish. When the Christian sprinter vows not to race on Sunday but ends up with his race scheduled on Sunday, their paths intersect. 

#3. The Barkley Marathons

The Barkley Marathon is the most demanding and hardest ultramarathon race. The 2014 documentary outlines exactly how tough this race truly is. It pushes participants limits above and beyond. And it will definitely provide you with any motivation you’re missing to get running.

#4. The Terry Fox Story

Terry Fox is the ultimate Canadian legend. After losing his leg to cancer, he sets out across Canada to raise money for research for a cure to the disease. His story is one of determination, perseverance, and strength.


The Terry Fox Story offers the perfect depiction of Terry Fox and his legacy. It’s not one you’ll want to skip!

#5. Without Limits

Without Limits is the movie story following the life of runner and record-breaker Steve Prefontaine. The movie focuses on his relationship with his coach, Bill Bowerman. 

#6. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

Sentenced to a type of youth detention center, a rebellious youth gets various privileges while being locked up due to this ability to run long-distances. Initially released in 1962, it’s an oldie but a goodie.

#7. McFarland, USA 

McFarland, USA is a Disney movie about the 1987 cross-country team in Southern California. Based on a true story, you’ll be rooting for the underdog in this one.

#8. Run Lola Run

Ultimately, Run Lola Run shows that even the smallest decision can have a huge impact. Lola’s story happens three times. Each time, she’s set against the clock to go and find 100 000 Deutsche marks on the subway. Yet, also each time, there are slight differences that drastically impact all characters and the storyline.

#9. Personal Best

In this 1982 drama, an athlete unsuccessfully completes in the 1976 Olympic trials. When she meets a more experienced runner, everything changes. 

#10. 4 Minute Mile 

In the 4 Minute Mile, a teenage runner with natural talent is forced to push through his fears when tragedy strikes. You might cry, cheer, and go through a range of emotions with this one. But guaranteed, it won’t disappoint.

#11. Spirit of the Marathon

This documentary follows six marathon runners as they train for the Chicago Marathon. What obstacles are they overcoming? What’s their drive? The only way to find out is to watch their stories.

#12. Running the Sahara

Have you ever ran in the blistering heat? What about in the dead heat of the Sahara? This documentary follows three men as they attempt to run from one coast to the other through the Sahara Desert. It takes place over 111 days and over 4300 miles of mixed terrain. Will they make it?

#13. The Jericho Mile

This is another story from behind prison doors. Larry is sentenced to prison and begins running the track to occupy his time. Eventually, those working at the prison uncover how fast Larry really is and they set him down the path of potentially competing in the Olympic Trials. The story continues to unfold, but you’ll have to watch it to find out what transpires.

#14. Gun Runners

Two Kenyans swap their AK-47s for running shoes and pursue the dream of running marathons. Like the other movies on this list, Gun Runners is fairly well-rated and worth a watch. 

#15. The Running Man

In this fictional film, Arnold Schwarzenegger becomes part of a game show where runners and convicts must fight with killers to gain their freedom.  

#16. Kicking Bird

In Kicking Bird, a teenager runs in order to avoid bullies and getting beaten up. When the track coach notices his speed in comparison to the other track kids, he takes him on, hoping this will be his chance toward a college coaching position.

#17. Fast Women

Fast Women is a documentary film following four female runners – three of which aim to qualify for the Olympics. The fourth woman is attempting to qualify for the Boston Marathon after experiencing a stroke. It’s admirable and fascinating to watch their journey evolve and come to fruition.

#18. Race

In 1936, Jesse Owens, a black American runner, faces the tough world involving Adolf Hitler’s white supremacy in the Olympics. It’s a true story that won’t only motivate you but also potentially revisit current events in the world and how we still have work to do when it comes to equality and race.

#19. The Long Green Line

The Long Green Line is another documentary film. The coach uses cross-country running to weave in life lessons for high school boys. He’s been doing it for 50 years and he’s transformed these young boys into winning athletes through his methods.

#20. St. Ralph

Fourteen-year-old Ralph takes on an ambitious journey of trying to win the 1954 Boston Marathon. It’s inspiring and teaches you to push your limits, despite adversity.

Which Movie About Running Will You Watch First?

Grab this list and start checking them off. Which one is your favorite? Did we miss any important movies? Let us know in the comments below.

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Canaan Valley Half Marathon

This article was written by the editorial staff for the Canaan Valley Half Marathon.