One of the ways I’m trying to stay motivated during my recovery from tendonitis is immersing myself in running culture and learning about technique.I’ve been listening to running podcasts, watching videos online, reading blogs and have a couple of books lined up too.
The most impactful thing I’ve come across so far is The 3100: Run and Become. It’s a feature film about running. Not about Olympians, influencers or rule-breakers, but running as experience, as spiritual journey.
Focusing on ultra marathon The 3100 Self-Transcendence Race, the narrative follows previous winner and race favourite Ashprihanal Aalto as he races for 3100 miles in 52 days around the same half mile block in NYC.
Footage of the 3100 is interdispersed with other tales of running from varied cultures including Native American, the Japanese Monks of Mount Hiei and the San Bushmen of the Kalahari.
What I loved about this movie is it presents a totally different take on running than I had ever considered before. The protagonists in the movie don’t run to keep fit or break records. For them, running is spiritual experience, personal and familial growth, a fight for the very survival of their culture.
The film is beautifully shot and really feels cinematic. The hot, claustrophobic NYC block of the 3100 is contrasted with the wild, open spaces of the Navajo and the Kalahari, whilst the mountains of Japan contribute another breathtaking backdrop to the film.
Ultimately, The 3100 has made me consider more deeply what I might gain from running. It has prompted me to think about purpose and future. It has helped me see beyond simply completing a Couch to 5K to a much a wider vision of how running could change my life for the better.
The 3100, Run and Become is available for free on Amazon Prime.
If you want a deep dive on the background to the movie after watching it, the excellent Rich Roll has done an extended interview with the director, Sanjay Rawal, on his podcast, number 389.