My Run is an inspirational documentary about the capability of the human mind and spirit. In 1996, ten years after Terry Hitchcock’s wife succumbed to breast cancer leaving him to raise three young children on his own he decided to run 75 marathons in 75 days, running from his hometown St. Paul, Minnesota to the opening ceremonies for the Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. He was running not only in honor of his late wife Sue but also to raise awareness for single parent families everywhere. Terry equated the multiple marathons he ran in those 75 days to the marathons of life that he faced and these families every day.
You may think because of this incredible goal that this man was an athlete but on the contrary he was just a regular 57 year old man. Not only was he not an athlete but he had never really run at all, his kids joked that they ran a 5K race called the Kaiser Roll and every year their father came in dead last. This was a man who had health issues and was not the ideal candidate to run 75 consecutive marathons in 75 days and he was told at the time the most marathons that had been run consecutively was three. Despite all the obstacles he face Terry was determined to run.
While training for this run Terry suffered a heart attack. Doctor’s told him not to run, that he could die but he went forward with the run anyway. The night before he was to leave Minnesota the Minnesota Twins, Terry’s favorite team invited him out to the game to throw out the first pitch. The next day Terry would begin his 75 day journey.
With a team consisting of his two sons, Christopher (then 20) and Jason (then 16), three of their friends, and Charlie the dog, Terry began his run in early May. With a 32 foot trailer and 2 cars they had all the supplies they would need for 75 days on the road, but the journey would not be easy. The weather was cold and windy, Terry suffered severe pain while running, the team began bickering from the stress of this 24/7 job and after 3 weeks Jason, Terry’s younger son left to go home. A few weeks later the rest of the team with the exception of terry’s son Chris left too, taking the trailer with them leaving Terry and Chris with just a beat up old car.
On June 1st Chris and Terry left with just a car weren’t sure that they could go on but Chris told his father just to focus on the run and they would figure out if they were to continue on later that day, they would take one day at a time. Left with no where to sleep except for the car Chris walked into a Holiday Inn and told them his story asking if they could give them a room for the night. Not only did he get a room for the night but they now would have a room at any Holiday Inn for the rest of their trip.
The last few weeks proved to be horribly difficult, Terry suffered from pain every time he ran, supplies were low and Chris took the brunt of Terry’s suffering. The heat was in the 100’s at times and Terry almost suffered from heat stroke at one point. Then with only a couple weeks left Terry went to the hospital because he was having severe pain in his ankle’s and discovered that he had stress fractures in both ankles and one in his patella. The doctor’s told him to stop running but he continued on, developing chest pain the very next day. Back in the hospital terry told the doctor’s if they couldn’t find anything by 9 am the next morning he was leaving to finish his run. They suspected he had a heart attack but the tests were inconclusive so Terry continued on his way.
On July 15 as planned Terry and his son Chris arrived in Atlanta. They were greeted by family, friends, his team, news crews and many others awaiting his arrival. Terry and Chris ran to the end together but Chris hung back and allowed his father to run through the finish line alone. Through all the challenges and obstacles this ordinary man ran 75 marathons in 75 days.
During the run Terry was followed by newspapers, radio stations and news crews. Terry also stopped along the way to speak with people waiting in the street for him to run by and he also went to schools and talked to the children. These are the moments that kept his spirits up enough to continue running. During the run when Terry got to St. Louis an NBC news crew wanted to follow him for the day and at one point during the run they just disappeared. A while later Terry saw them up ahead of him and he asked where they went, and they told Terry the he had just ran through East St. Louis and nobody does that. When you go into East St. Louis you don’t come out but Terry did, the people of East St. Louis were inspired by him too.
This is a documentary about courage, determination and the sheer will to complete a goal that seemed impossible to everyone even Terry himself at times. It definitely brought tears to my eyes at times. If you want to be inspired by human capability and strength then this is the movie for you.
Before the movie Chris and I stopped by Chipotle. He had a huge burrito:
I had a vegetarian salad and we each had a Corona:
We ate and then headed over to the movie theater.
After the movie there was an interview with Terry and his son Chris. the one part of the interview that stuck with me was how mentally difficult the run was for him. Physically it was painful but the mental part of the run was the most challenging. I cannot even compare any run I have ever done to what Terry Hitchcock ran in those 75 days but I agree that running is more mentally difficult, the physical challenges we can overcome but sometimes our mind is our own worst enemy.
Did you see My Run last night? If so, what did you think? Do you think running is more of a mental or physical challenge?