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The Best Trail-Running Videos of 2015

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One of the positive consequences of trail running’s recent growth—in terms of participants, press, races and, yes, sponsor dollars—is the parallel increase in trail-running film production. A number of talented individuals and production outfits are regularly using film to tell compelling stories about runners, famous or otherwise, and to transport us to the epic trails and races we’ve heard so much about.

With 2015 drawing to a close, we’ve collected 10 great short films about trail running that were released this year. Some of these are video profiles: well-known athletes Anton Krupicka and Stevie Kremer; up-and-comer Kyle Dietz, a former MMA fighter; and Bill Dooper, who’s attended every Leadville Trail 100 since 1988 to cheer on others but has never run an ultra himself.

Other videos travel around the world, exploring unique environments and cultures: English fell-running traditions, coastal New Zealand trails, conservation in Patagonia, a record-setting 93-mile circumambulation of Washington’s highest volcano. The final films portray the grit and beauty of two well-known trail races—California’s Lake Sonoma 50 and Montana’s Bridger Ridge Run—bringing these events to life for aspiring racers and armchair ultrarunners alike.

This list is not meant to be definitive or exhaustive, but to celebrate some of the year’s best productions (according to the editorial staff of Trail Runner). Did we miss your favorite film? Let us know on social media or in the comments section!

People

Trail Fighter

Film by: T.C. Worley

“The similarity between ultrarunning and fighting is purely pushing it to the limit,” says Kyle Dietz. This short film follows the MMA fighter-turned-trail runner as he trains in his native Iowa. Dietz talks motivation, racing and goals, while proving that you don’t need mountains to be a competitive trail runner.

15 Hours with Anton Krupicka

Film by: Billy Yang

Two-time Leadville winner and well-known trail ambassador Anton Krupicka opens up about his history in the sport, finding balance in life, struggling with injuries and what the future holds. Now a bearded, flannel-wearing mountain man living in Boulder, Colorado, Krupicka started running while growing up in Nebraska, and wrote his first training log by age 11.

The Teacher


Film by: The African Attachment/Salomon Running

Stevie Kremer of Crested Butte, Colorado, always knew she wanted to be a teacher, but she had no idea she would be an trail runner. When Kremer ran her first trail race—a local 11-miler—she came in last.

Eight years later, she is a Skyrunner World Series champion, trying to balance her life as a second-grade school teacher with an intense training and racing schedule. This video follows Kremer into the mountains around Crested Butte and interviews her about how she’s grown into a top trail runner.

The Ultimate Fan

Film by: The African Attachment/Salomon Running

Bill Dooper, a 79-year-old resident of Leadville, Colorado, has cheered on runners at every Leadville 100 since 1988 and every Hardrock 100 since its founding in 1992. He himself has never run an ultra, but is as much a part of the trail-running community as the racers. People from all over send him their race medals, and he proudly displays a picture of himself standing next to Scott Jurek.

Ultrarunner Dylan Bowman says in the video, “Bill is the number-one superfan of ultrarunning and one of the nicest, most genuinely enthusiastic guys I’ve ever met.” This video shows the heartwarming story of one of the most dedicated spectators our sport has ever seen, and follows him to his first-ever Western States 100.

Adventure

Of Fells and Hills

Film by: The African Attachment/Salomon Running

In “Of Fells and Hills,” Rickey Gates, a professional runner and Trail Runner contributing editor, runs through the stunning fells of the U.K. and explores their history.

Organized fell running took shape in the 1800s and has avoided commercialization to a great extent. Gates has a take on how it’s stayed out of the spotlight for so long: “When people have an appreciation for certain things, they make an effort to preserve them.”

These fells have seen some of the most incredible trail-running performances no one’s ever heard of. As Gates says, “People these days haven’t come close to [those times] and they’re trying really hard.”

Wharariki

Film by: SchlarbWolf Productions

This video is trail porn at its best: Ultrarunners (and best buds) Jason Schlarb and Jeremy Wolf run through the the pristine mountains and beaches of New Zealand’s South Island

While New Zealand has only about the square mileage of Colorado, it packs in enough trail-running opportunities to rival, well, a state in the U.S. Mountain West. Thirty percent of its land is national park, and it has thousands of miles of trails. New Zealand is also home to the popular Tarawera Ultramarathon, with distances of 60, 85 and 100 kilometers.

Mile for Mile: A Film About Trail Running and Conservation in Patagonia

Film by: Rios Libres/Patagonia

This video follows ultrarunners Krissy Moehl, Jeff Browning and Luke Nelson on a 106-mile run through Patagonia National Park in Chile. The purpose of their run was to celebrate the opening of the park, which took place in October 2014.

Alongside footage of the athletes running through Patagonia’s stunning scenery, this film discusses the founding of the park and ongoing conservation efforts in the region. As the late Doug Tompkins, who played a pivotal role in protecting land in Patagonia, says in the film, “So many times in environmental activism, we don’t win the fight. But here, we are.”

WONDERLAND: Gary Robbins’ Run Around Rainier

Film by: Ethan Newberry (The Ginger Runner)

In one of the most impressive speed records of 2015, Gary Robbins ran the 93-mile Wonderland Trail, which circumambulates Mount Rainier in Washington, in 18 hours 52 minutes, cutting two hours off of the previous fastest time. This video chronicles Robbins’ run, and offers a look into the mind of someone who runs 93 miles and 22,000 feet of elevation gain at an incredible 12:10 pace.

Races

2015 Lake Sonoma 50 Miler Highlights

Film by: Billy Yang

This video highlights the ultra-competitive Lake Sonoma 50 in California. Every year, the race attracts top pros vying for Western States 100 spots. At the 2015 edition, Alex Varner won in a course-record 6:09:39, and Stephanie Howe set a women’s course record of 7:08:23.

 

Wind Drinkers: 30 Years of the Bridger Ridge Run (Parts 1 and 2)

Part 1

Part 2

Film by: Eric Bendick/Grizzly Creek Films

In this beautifully shot film, you’ll hear the stories of 10 runners as they race the 20-mile Bridger Ridge Run in Montana. One of the most epic and exposed non-ultra trail races in the country, the Bridger Ridge Run, now in its 32nd year, is one for the bucket list. The race is located outside of Bozeman, Montana, and includes 6,800 feet of elevation gain, and 9,500 feet of loss.