Last night I met Tina at the Showcase in Ann Arbor for the one-night-only showing (or not-- apparently now there's an encore showing on February 21) of the documentary Spirit of the Marathon.
The theater was packed. I think it was completely sold out. We lucked out with some awesome seats right in the middle not too close and not too far back. During the film, everyone laughed at the same parts (like when one of the first-time marathoners featured in the film reported that some of her friends asked her, "Do you think you're going to win?" when she told them she was going to run the Chicago Marathon). When repeat marathoner Ryan was told he had a serious knee injury and could not continue his training nor compete in the marathon, we groaned right along with him. When elite American runner Deena Kastor talked about her training schedule, there was an audible intake of shocked breath around the room as she said she had run 145 miles for the week. When a totally spent Deena managed to hold off a surging second-place runner to win the 2005 Chicago Marathon, people clapped. When the film ended and the screen darkened before the end credits and music started to roll, the room was completely silent. No one moved or made even the tiniest sound. Then the spell was broken and there was scattered applause as people began shuffling around. For an hour and 45 minutes several hundred like-minded individuals had come together as one to watch human beings push themselves past normal limits of endurance.
I am more excited than ever to run the Detroit Marathon in October. Watching the emotions pouring out of people as they crossed the finish line was overwhelming. I found myself getting a lump in my throat, thinking, That could be me in nine months.
If you can, try to see this film when it's shown again in February. It really is wonderful.