We Need Lungs

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I watched this film on the treadmill on a dark wintry day when snow and ice made the roads a dangerous option. At 67 minutes it was perfect for me to warm up to with a dynamic stretch routine and then run easy pace for an hour.

The documentary follows Italian ultra-runner Sebastiano Arlotta as he attempts to run across the Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean in 9 days over 900km/560miles with 60,000m/196,850ft of ascent and descent on the GR10 Route.

The film hasn’t yet received very high ratings online but I think that is likely in the context of watching it from the sofa rather than while running on a treadmill. For me it was excellent treadmill TV.

One reason for the reviews may be that the athlete himself doesn’t share much in the way that ultra-running fans are accustomed to hearing from the likes of Jurek, Goggins, Metlzer et al. I put that down to a combination of language barrier, natural shyness and tunnel-vision focus on the attempt. It certainly didn’t take away from an appreciation of his effort and of the stunning vistas that are beautifully captured on video.

Instead of in-depth interviews with the athlete there’s commentary from Sebastiano’s former teacher, mountain guide and mentor, Bill O’Connor, who provides backstory, expert insight into the challenges of the route and adventures in the mountains. I can see how this might seem a lot for the sofa-watcher, but for a runner it feels pleasantly like you are out on the trail with a experienced adventure partner who is full of great stories and doing all the talking for you.

Recommended for an hour-long treadmill run, particularly when the weather outside is dark and wintry.

Where to Watch

Watch Now on Amazon Prime Video (subscription required)

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