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The Monday Shakeout: The Best Running Scenes of All-Time, Part 1
By Bach Pham, Content Manager

There are movies about running like Chariots of Fire and then there are movies with iconic running scenes that do everything from getting your adrenaline pumping to tearjerkers that stab you in the heart. As runners, we can get a little bit more excited about seeing running in movies than the average viewer. Over the next two weeks, we're going to take a trip through Hollywood to talk about the history of running scenes. For Part 1, we'll look at some of the more iconic scenes in history that have stood the test of time.

Just Felt Like Running
Forrest Gump

While Chariots of Fire is the all-time movie on running, I think Forrest Gump really gets to the heart of what runners love about the sport. There's the iconic line itself, with Jenny yelling to Forrest to run away from bullies. A beautiful transition occurs where they age over the years and they go from kids to high schoolers, setting forth the infamous scene of Tom Hanks bolting full speed and earning himself a spot on the football team after an incidental pass through.

It is another extended scene late in the film that I believe really resonates more for me and I believe many runners as well. Taking the swell of emotions he's had from Jenny disappearing on him for the hundredth time, he decides to cope by going for a run that ends up taking him cross country as he contemplates everything that's happened to him. His run, like everything else that's happened before him, incidentally becomes an emblem of hope, adventure and so much more as dozens and dozens of people follow along and become part of his journey. Few films in my book capture what running can be for an individual better than Forrest Gump, and no moment more poignant than the one where he stops and decides it's time to go home.

Set the Stage

Casino Royale

It is not easy to take over the reins of an iconic franchise and put your stamp on things immediately, but Daniel Craig does so immediately with the opening chase scene in Casino Royale which takes him high above the cityscape in a parkour-filled race. What I particularly love here is how Craig defines his 007 immediately, identifying that he is not a finessing Bond like past actors. He is younger Bond; brash, cold, and willing to pound through walls and flatten anything in his way to get the job done. This is beautifully contrasted with the parkour henchman (played by freerunner Sebastien Foucan, who has just stunning moments through the entire chase) he is forced to chase, and simply a breathtaking opener in general that really brought a fresh breath of air into the franchise and ushered in what would become the defiant styling of the 2000s with films like Captain America, Mission Impossible and others using a similar rhythm to their chase scenes.

Lastly, something I hadn't even thought about when rewatching this chase scene was the fact that people were betting between a horrendous fight between a snake and ferret. Apparently ferrets are absolutely ruthless killers that very much eat snakes. Who knew??

They're Taking the Hobbits to Isengard!
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

I don't know another movie that could possibly get away with three beings running hundreds of miles with weapon and armor so gracefully and vividly through Middle Earth's (New Zealand) gorgeous landscape. The magnitude of the scene for those who have been unable to see in theatre is so tremendous as we pan out onto the endless, mountainous landscape. I love how films have you buy-in to the impossible, and few running scenes exemplify that more than this simple one.

Also we can't not mention the equally, if not more infamous video that spawned out of this scene.

All About the Payoff
Ferris Bueller's Day Off

There are so many elements to Ferris Bueller's run that makes it such a funny, compelling scene. There's the multiple dynamics in play: he's racing home not to just beat his family home who thinks he's sick in bed, he's got his sister who's willing to do just about anything to ruin is day and then there's his principal who's spent the movie to... well, also ruin his day for all the things he's done to him. There's also the path home: a manic chase through yards, swimming pools and streets his father is also winding home through. The scene is just bitingly funny between Ferris' run-ins with his family and also his casual invasion of suburban family life. The ending is poignant and a pitch-perfect culmination of events that pays off in every way possible.

Oh Heck No
Get Out

One of the earliest and most famous movie scenes of all time - actual shot footage that was shown to an audience - is of a railway car driving directly at the camera. Presented playfully in the film Hugo, early audiences were so shocked by the scene that they fell out of their chairs trying to get out of the way. This scene in Get Out is so reminiscent of that. When the character Walter runs so directly at the main character and you the viewer that it's hard not to gasp and almost want to jerk out of the way the very last second before the camera pivots. The music is minimal, but screeching and clawing, adding to your desire to grip the arms of your chair in the moment. Director Jordan Peele only teases the audience further with the moment immediately after that just layers on so beautifully. It's a scene that is both terrifying and also maddeningly funny at the same time.

Get Out is such a potent film in the way it plays with our emotions. While jump scares aren't the film's go-to play for entangling the viewer's emotions, this scene is one of the few in the film that stands out and makes you feel you are in the main character's position of discomfort and pure terror, and the fact that running is the implementation is why it is such an iconic running scene to this day.

The Montage to End all Montages

Rocky's running montage is really the prime example of how the right pieces put together make a really magical experience. The trumpets that immediately start the scene are so emblematic at this point. You can't not think of this scene when hearing the opening line of the "Gonna Fly Now." Without it, the dynamic could have easily been either too campy or too mellow, but the music offers Stallone such a perfect foil for his training that gets you geared up for the final act of the film.

Stallone, himself, is in prime form throughout. Not really thinking about it before, but he's an absolute monster from the get-go with his training weights in hand (if you have ever tried to run with even 1-2lb weights for any distance, let me tell you it is not easy). His running is maybe the most natural of any on the list today and relatable to any runner who sees it, and also a wonderful love letter to Philadelphia. Also, how many of us have run a set of stairs to achieve Stallone's signature moment?

Don't Look Back, But Also Look Back
Raiders of the Lost Ark

My favorite part of this relatively brief running scene is the number of times that Indy looks back in disbelief at the situation. After thinking he had beat the system, all hell breaks loose as a boulder the size of a car suddenly hurls out and chases him through the tunnel. Running for his life, stopping briefly to say goodbye to someone who just betrayed him and paid the price for it trying to steal the golden idol, he runs manically through the tunnel in what is best described as a most insane Disney World ride you could imagine as he seeks to avoid getting rolled to death. I love that Ford commits to the role and the scene, and his constant pauses and exasperation about the whole ordeal make the already tumultuous situation even more memorable.

Exactly How It Happened
Wonder Woman

One of my favorite things about movies is how they can creatively rewrite history. Forrest Gump is no exception, the idea that Forrest just happened to be present during the most historic times in television history. Wonder Woman does the same by installing Wonder Woman into America's win condition for WWI, helping break the iconic space known as No Man's Land and leading Eastern troops onto the Western front. Probably the most character-defining scene of the movie, it helped propel Wonder Woman into the hero she would destined to become.

Running Since 1981
Mission Impossible: Fallout

You can't talk about running in movies without talking about Ethan Hunt. Cruise has been running for decades now, well before he had to tackle his first Mission Impossible. Perhaps the greatest sprinting actor of all-time, he's produced some of the most exhilarating individual running scenes of all times through his work. Fallout is perhaps one of his very best. Here, he is on the hunt to stop CIA Agent August Walker. With a limited window to catch him before he leaves the city, Cruise is seen bolting through the rooftops of London and taking the absolute most perilous possible path to track him down. Perhaps the most exceptional thing about Tom Cruise's running is his ability to convey absolute sprinting for such incredible distances. There's something incredible about seeing him go from 0-60mph in the midst of roof jumping, window-breaking, barreling through sandstorms and the bustling streets of Hong Kong. Nothing stops his forward motion and it is an absolute thrill-ride each and every time.

For those interested, this ESPN piece is a must-read for those who want explore Cruise's running career in-depth.

Find Part 2 here: Link


A Week at Doctors of Running
Sustainable is Only Going to Work if It's Good
A Simple Guide to Footwear and Foot Health
Best Flat Feet Shoes by a Flat Feet Runner
How Long Do Shoes Last?


*Using the link to purchase helps support Doctors of Running. Thanks so much!

Ultraspire Fitted Race Belt: The best way to carry your phone and goods on the run. No bounce and various sizes for waist. (Also recommend the Naked belt)
Saysky Running Gear: We were really taken aback by this Scandinavian company's ultra-thin, durable performance clothing
Skratch Recovery, Coffee Flavor: Mental and physical boost post run. Coffee flavor is excellent and goes great straight into a fresh brewed cup
goodr Sunglases: Run in style with goodr's super fun sunglasses.
Feetures Socks: Massively grippy socks that will make you feel more one with the shoe
Amphipod Hydraform Handheld Water Bottle: Perfect for long runs when you need hydration in the summer
Trigger Point Foam Roller: Help get those knots out post-run and feel better for tomorrow
Theragun Massager: This small version is great on the go for working tired legs
Ciele Hat: Our team's favorite running hat of choice!
Fractel Hats: Our team's wider fitting running hat of choice!


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