Why we made it: Running America – Larry Meistrich
We loved our release Running the Sahara – it’s an impossible run across unfamiliar country. Marshall Ulrich and Charlie Engle wanted to run across more familiar country – America. The run was to start in late 2008 and go from San Francisco to New York. It was to go across the heartland and on lesser-known roads – because we couldn’t run on the big interstates. At the same time a huge political upheaval was taking place. The economy was crashing and two men were running for president – McCain and Obama.
We had an idea a bit like Woodstock – something to capture the tone and spirit and problems of the time – so we interviewed people from all walks of life about how America was doing. Director Kevin Kerwin and the Producer Kate O’Neill were discovered at one of Nehst’s Aspiring Filmmakers Bootcamps. They explored opinions and emotions across the political landscape. As Marshall and Charlie crossed America they had problems. If you have something bothering your foot, you slow down, sit on the couch, and rest. Marshall and Charlie were going 70 miles a day. They were heartbroken having to slow down and stop as muscles, tendons, skin and bone showed the results of the stress. And just as they were struggling, America was struggling.
The film culminates in the election and peoples’ feelings about that. Do politics and running mix? At the beginning it seems like an odd combination – but then everything feels natural. And you learn that Running America doesn’t just mean running across the geography of the country, but encountering the people.
We’re proud of Running America. Nehst has made the film available on DVD, download, and in limited event screenings across the country. Check the Nehst store for both. What’s cool about Running America is that we wanted to shoot a documentary about two amazing athletes competing for world records, and in the process discovered a changing country that reflected their struggle. Who’ll be interested? People who like Running. And people who like America. That’s why we made it.