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    DVD- Running to the Limits

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    Running to the Limits Documentary

    The DVD includes numerous extra features including: - Extened version, additional interviews and a coaching/advice video.



    Documentary background

    Emerging from the murky darkness illuminated by flaming torches lining the cobbled streets of Rome, a solitary African figure appeared. He moved with such grace and poise that people stopped and watched in awe at his motion. He glided barefoot across the cobbled stones where only decades before Mussolini had inspected his troops prior to Italy’s invasion of his country. His name was Abebe Bikila, a sheep herder from Ethiopia; his name would become synomonous with Ethiopia’s struggle in triumphing over colonial suppression. He would be responsible for paving the way for future generations of young African distance runners and was only moments away from being crowned Africa’s first Olympic marathon champion in the 1960 Games.

    Running in Africa has become a way of life. Stories of Bikila’s marathon success were not just associated with his supreme athletic ability and the accolade of being an Olympic champion, but more importantly putting Africa firmly on the sporting map. Today there are hundreds of top runners all striving to get to the top of their sport, all literally “hungry” for success and looking for a platform to a perceived “better life”. It is not just the trappings of a western lifestyle that are an incentive to these fiercely proud runners. Bikila’s marathon triumph instilled a sense of pride, comradeship and duty to his fellow Ethiopians which was born from the struggles of everyday life in a country that has been plagued by war and famine. In Ethiopia if you are a runner you are fabled as a national hero, walk down the street and people will rejoice in your name.

    From the 60’s to the 90’s Britain dominated the sport of marathon running. It was a time when the likes of Bill Adcocks, Ron Hill, Mike Gratton, Steve Jones and Richard Nerurkar were household names; famed for regularly running times faster then 2 hours and 10 minutes. It inspired a generation of runners to get off the couch, tie up their running shoes and culminated in over 100 British male marathon runners running under the 2 hour 20 minute mark during one season in 1985, with the majority achieving these times in the London Marathon. This year’s London marathon was indicative of the decline of competitive marathon running in this country, with only 2 British male marathon runners finishing under this time.

    This decline of competitive marathon running in the UK could be considered to be symptomatic of the society we live in today. Connections between easy living, obesity and the government's lack of funding for sporting initiatives in schools have all led to this decline and the desire to excel in sport. The documentary will explore the issues affecting marathon running including social, economic, cultural, psychological, physiological and genetic differences between UK and East African marathon runners.