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Spirit of the Marathon II

As usual in my little corner of the blogosphere, I'm a little late.  Don't worry bloggy friends, it's not just here that I'm late but pretty much in all facets of my life.  Nonetheless, I'm here and I've got an amazing review of Spirit of the Marathon II.  

In case you forgot, Spirit of the Marathon was an amazing movie that followed the training and journey of several regular runners like me, and elite runners like Deena Kastor as they raced the Chicago Marathon.  It's an amazingly inspiring movie, and one I could watch over and over.  (#teamrunnerd for life)

You can imagine my excitement when I received an e-mail before the release of the sequel inviting me to review the movie!  Unfortunately I had to work that night and could not go as it was screening one night only.  Luckily for some of my RUN365 friends, I'm nice and decided to gift them with some complementary passes!  The only caveat:  I wanted them to review the movie for me.  Michelle was kind of enough to write a beautiful piece detailing her thoughts and I'm happy to share that with y'all!

If you tossed a piece of popcorn across the theater Wednesday night, you would surely hit a runner. Probably the highest concentration of runners ever in a Memphis theater could be found Wednesday night during the premiere of Spirit of the Marathon II, the sequel to the award-winning Spirit of the Marathon.
I admit I wanted to hide when I entered the theater. I don’t fit the mold of the stereotypical runner. Though I have proudly met that 26.2-mile mark and have even surpassed it, I’m not fast, and I’m not skinny. I quickly realized that although the film’s target audience is obviously marathon runners, Spirit of the Marathon II is for the serious marathoner, the casual runner, those of us who fall in between, and even those who just ask “Why?”
The documentary follows seven runners as they embark on their journey to the starting line of the 2012 Rome marathon. Every runner has a story to tell – (Admit it, you love to tell yours!) - and the film embraces this. I know I’ve gladly told my story to those who asked to hear it (and those who might have just happened to have the misfortunate of saying hello when I felt like telling it) -  training in the oppressing heat of a Mississippi summer, raising money for a cause dear to my heart, pounding the pavement through 26.2 miles of sweat and tears, to prove to myself and my husband and my kids that I was tough enough. Spirit of the Marathon II features compelling tales of both novice and elite runners are featured, so viewers will surely find a story with which they can identify.
Epiphanie Nyriabarame is a groundbreaking female runner from Rwanda. Nyriabarame was personally affected by the genocide in 1994. The two-time Olympian uses running to give back to her community and hopes to inspire other girls to walk in her shoes.  Another elite runner, Vasyl Matviychuk of Ukraine, is hoping to earn a spot on the Ukrainian Olympic team. A rigid training schedule leads this elite runner to the starting line and he pursues his goal.
Domenico “Mimmo” Scipioni and Deomenico Anzini are cousins who live in Rome. Although Mimmo first prodded his cousin into running, 72-year-old Anzini has now competed in 18 years worth of Rome marathons. Mimmo is a beloved pizzeria owner who has run more than 40 marathons, and his awards decorate the shelves and walls of his restaurant. The night before the marathon, the restaurant is packed with runners ready to carbo load.
The documentary featured new marathoners. Cliff Scott of New Jersey embarks on his first-ever marathon journey in his 60s, after a family tragedy. While he struggles to deal with an unimaginable loss, Scott is determined to check an item off his bucket list by running the marathon. Also a first timer, Ylenia Anelli of Italy is training for her first marathon while trying to balance her business and raising two children. Just these two runners alone will inspire others to take the first step.
One of the most inspirational runners in the film is Julie Weiss. On the streets of Rome, Weiss begins her quest to raise money for pancreatic cancer by running 52 marathons in 52 weeks in memory of her late father. Weiss’s bubbly personality carries her through the marathon, as she cheers on those around her. I would love to say that I could keep such a positive outlook, but around mile 23-ish of my first marathon I vaguely recall being rather grumpy, particularly at my ipod, which I almost tossed on the side of the road.
The film weaves the stories of these runners, and we follow them – through their lives, inspiration, and training – all the way to the starting line. I’m pretty sure heart rates sped up as the marathon began on the screen, as we experienced a little bit of the adrenaline rush that always accompanies crossing the starting line. We stayed with the runners as they covered the miles, witnessing their struggles and their triumphs, and as they crossed the finish line.
The documentary also features interviews with marathon legends such as Frank Shorter and Grete Waitz. The experts give insight into the history of the marathon, telling the stories of those who paved the way for others to run.
Spirit of the Marathon II is filled with as much inspiration as it is information. As the credits roll, veteran marathoners will find themselves eager for the next starting line and even those who were asking “Why” may find themselves asking, “Why not?”

Thank you so much for your review, Michelle.  You are a beautiful and gifted writer and I'm so happy I gave you and Brett tickets!   I'm pretty sure I need you to write some more for MommiesRun!

Disclaimer:  I was contacted by Fathom Events and provided 4 complementary passes to view their film, Spirit of the Marathon II.  I was unable to attend and therefore gave the passes to friends.  The opinions in this review belong to Michelle Kinggard.  She was compensated only with free passes to the movie.  

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