The 14 Best Running Documentaries to Watch Online: Inspire Your Next Run

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If you are a running enthusiast looking for some inspiration or simply interested in exploring the world of running, then this article is for you. We have curated a list of the 14 best running documentaries that you can watch online now. From inspiring stories of endurance and triumph to uncovering the power of the human spirit, these films offer a unique perspective on the world of running. Whether you are an elite athlete or an everyday runner, these documentaries will leave you motivated and in awe of the challenges and unforgettable journeys captured on screen.

So grab your popcorn, sit back, and get ready to be inspired by these must-watch films for running enthusiasts.

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

This documentary follows the grueling Barkley Marathons, an ultra-marathon that takes place in Frozen Head State Park, Tennessee. Known as one of the toughest races on Earth, this film captures the extreme challenges and the indomitable spirit of the participants.

2. Spirit of the Marathon

Experience the journey of six runners as they train for and participate in the Chicago Marathon. This film explores the physical and mental challenges faced by these athletes, showcasing their determination and passion for the sport.

3. Born to Run: The Tarahumara

Travel to the Copper Canyons of Mexico and meet the Tarahumara, a tribe known for their extraordinary running abilities. This documentary delves into their culture, history, and the secrets behind their incredible endurance.

4. The Runners

Join a diverse group of runners as they train for the New York City Marathon. This film highlights the personal stories and motivations of each participant, revealing how running can bring people from all walks of life together.

5. Desert Runners

Follow a group of amateur runners as they take on the daunting challenge of completing four ultra-marathons in four deserts across the globe. This documentary showcases the physical and mental strength required to conquer such extreme races.

6. The Human Race

Discover the world of the everyday runner through interviews with individuals from various backgrounds and abilities. This film celebrates the power of running in transforming lives and inspiring communities.

7. Breaking2

Nike’s ambitious attempt to break the two-hour barrier in the marathon is documented in this film. Join Eliud Kipchoge, Lelisa Desisa, and Zersenay Tadese as they push the boundaries of human performance in a race against time.

8. Transcend

Experience the remarkable journey of Wesley Korir, a Kenyan runner who overcame adversity to become a champion and later a member of the Kenyan parliament. This documentary explores the transformative power of running and its impact on individuals and communities.

9. Running on the Sun

Witness the Badwater Ultramarathon, known as the world’s toughest foot race, as runners take on scorching temperatures and treacherous terrain in Death Valley, California. This film captures the physical and mental endurance required to complete this grueling race.

10. Town of Runners

Explore the Ethiopian town of Bekoji, known for producing some of the world’s greatest distance runners. This documentary follows the lives and dreams of young athletes as they strive for success in the competitive world of running.

11. The Long Green Line

Meet legendary high school cross-country coach Joe Newton and his team as they pursue their 25th consecutive Illinois state title. This film showcases the dedication, discipline, and enduring legacy of Coach Newton and his athletes.

12. Fire on the Track: The Steve Prefontaine Story

Discover the inspiring story of Steve Prefontaine, an American middle and long-distance runner who became a national icon in the 1970s. This documentary pays tribute to his talent, determination, and lasting impact on the sport.

13. Running for Jim

Follow the journey of a high school girls’ cross-country team as they honor their late coach, Jim Tracy, by aiming for a state championship. This film celebrates the power of mentorship, teamwork, and resilience.

14. The Why? 100 Miles

Experience the world of ultrarunning through the eyes of athletes participating in the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. This documentary explores the physical and emotional challenges faced by these runners during one of the most demanding races on Earth.

These 14 best running documentaries offer a wide range of stories and perspectives that will captivate and inspire both elite athletes and everyday runners. From the Barkley Marathons to the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, these films provide a glimpse into the triumphs, struggles, and unforgettable moments that make the world of running so fascinating.

So, pick a documentary that resonates with you, and get ready to be motivated, challenged, and transported into the extraordinary world of running.

Inspiring Stories of Endurance and Triumph

Running is not just a physical activity; it is a journey that tests the limits of the human body and spirit. In these inspiring documentaries, you will witness the incredible feats of endurance and triumph that runners from all walks of life have accomplished. From overcoming personal obstacles to achieving record-breaking performances, these films showcase the indomitable will and determination that drives runners to push themselves to the limit.

Each documentary tells a unique story, capturing the essence of what it means to be a runner. Whether you are an elite athlete striving for greatness or an everyday runner seeking motivation, these films will leave you inspired and in awe of the human potential.

Uncovering the Power of the Human Spirit

At its core, running is a test of the human spirit. It is a sport that pushes individuals to their limits, both physically and mentally. In these documentaries, you will witness the power of the human spirit in its purest form. From the Tarahumara tribe’s ancient running traditions to the ordinary individuals who find solace and purpose in running, these films uncover the remarkable strength and resilience of the human spirit.

Through captivating storytelling and breathtaking cinematography, these documentaries offer a glimpse into the transformative power of running. They remind us that running is not just a means to stay fit; it is a journey that can change lives and inspire greatness.

Exploring the World of Running Like Never Before

Running is a universal language that transcends borders and cultures. It brings people together, fosters connections, and creates communities. In these documentaries, you will explore the rich and diverse world of running like never before. From the streets of New York City to the remote trails of Kenya, these films take you on a global journey, showcasing the unique landscapes, cultures, and perspectives that make running a truly global phenomenon.

Whether you are a seasoned runner or someone curious about the sport, these documentaries will open your eyes to the vast and vibrant world of running. They will inspire you to lace up your shoes and embark on your own running adventure.

Motivation, Challenges, and Unforgettable Journeys

Running is not just about the finish line; it is about the journey that leads you there. In these documentaries, you will witness the motivation, challenges, and unforgettable journeys that runners undertake. From elite athletes training for the Olympics to everyday runners pushing their limits, these films capture the essence of what it means to be a runner.

You will witness the physical and mental challenges that runners face, the sacrifices they make, and the moments of triumph that make it all worthwhile. These documentaries will motivate you to push beyond your own limits, embrace the challenges, and embark on your own unforgettable running journey.

Must-Watch Films for Running Enthusiasts

If you are a running enthusiast, these documentaries are a must-watch. They offer a unique and intimate look into the world of running, capturing the passion, dedication, and love for the sport. Whether you are looking for inspiration, motivation, or simply want to learn more about the sport, these films will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the art of running.

From the heart-pounding races to the personal stories of triumph and resilience, these documentaries will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions. So grab your running shoes, sit back, and prepare to be moved by these must-watch films for running enthusiasts.


  1. What are the best running documentaries?
    • The best running documentaries include “The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young,” “Spirit of the Marathon,” and “Born to Run: The Tarahumara” among others. Each documentary offers a unique perspective on the world of running and showcases inspiring stories of endurance and triumph.
  2. Where can I watch running documentaries online?
    • Running documentaries can be watched online on platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube. Some documentaries may also be available on specialized sports streaming platforms.
  3. Are these documentaries suitable for all audiences?
    • While these documentaries are generally suitable for all audiences, some may contain intense scenes or language. It is recommended to check the content ratings or reviews before watching, especially for younger viewers.
  4. Can these documentaries help in my own running journey?
    • Absolutely! These documentaries offer a wealth of inspiration, motivation, and insights into the world of running. They can help you stay motivated, overcome challenges, and gain a deeper understanding of the sport.
  5. Are there any documentaries specifically about famous runners?
    • Yes, several documentaries focus on the lives and achievements of famous runners. For example, “Fire on the Track: The Steve Prefontaine Story” explores the inspiring story of Steve Prefontaine, an American middle and long-distance runner.
  6. Do these documentaries cover different types of running events?
    • Yes, these documentaries cover a wide range of running events, from traditional marathons to ultra-marathons and cross-country races. They offer a diverse perspective on the world of running and showcase the challenges and triumphs of various running disciplines.
  7. Can these documentaries be helpful for non-runners?
    • Absolutely! These documentaries offer much more than just running. They delve into the human spirit, perseverance, and the power of pursuing one’s passions. Non-runners can find inspiration, motivation, and a deeper understanding of the human experience through these films.

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