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Film Review – Transcend

Just started training for the coming season? Signed up for one of the Spring marathons or maybe even Tokyo in February? But finding it tough psychologically to get the mileage going when everyone else is winding down for the festive feed? Well if you are looking for inspiration, look no further than recent docufilm film Transcend.

Transcend /tranˈsɛnd,trɑːn-/

// be or go beyond the range or limits of (a field of activity or conceptual sphere)

// surpass (a person or achievement)

Apart from the amazing footage of Chicago, Boston, an insight into Kenyan running with Jake and Zane Robertson training in Iten, interviews with Malcolm Gladwell, Haile Gebrselassie and Alex Hutchinson <breathe>; this is the story of how if you strive to achieve something in life, set a target, a goal and overcome you can apply that to anything. In this case Wesley Korir tells his story (a story which echoes with many African runners) of how he used running to escape hardship. But then how through his running he realised that he could use this influence – influence he worked hard to gain in becoming a champion – to make a difference; to change the way the country he loves, his homeland, is governed.

Transcend means two things to a runner. It’s the state which a runner can reach when they are able to take themselves to a point where the physical act transcends all other worries, fears and hostility. It’s a very pure place and quite beautiful when you reach it. You become human again. And secondly, perhaps more importantly, it’s about how the runner can harness this newly found ability to accomplish, achieve, overcome and affect change in other areas of life. This can be personal or – as with Korir – it can be to help others.

I’m not yet sure what to call this feeling. Whether there is a term for what this state of mind is, how it can be bottled, whether it means something different to different runners. One thing is for sure, as with Wesley and some of the other guys in the film Transcend, I hope that my running continues to make me a better person.

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