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Run for Your Life


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Run for Your Life + Spirit of the Marathon + The Last Mile
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A look at Fred Lebow, the founder of the New York City Marathon.

Amazon.com

Boston may have done it first, but the way Run For Your Life tells it, it was the New York City Marathon that put the idea of the big city road race on the map, in the process adding immeasurably to the popularity of running in general. When it began in 1970, the New York event consisted of four circuits around Central Park, where a few hundred participants shared the roadway with baby carriages and hansom cabs. In 1976, when the race expanded to include all five of the city’s boroughs, it attracted some 2,000 athletes, including Olympians Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers (who went on to win it four years in a row); in 2008, the number of runners had grown to 40,000. All of this was due to the vision and persistence of the marathon’s founder: Fred Lebow, "a slight, bearded, transplanted Transylvanian" who "ran like a duck, only slower." Born Fischel Lebowitz, Lebow emigrated from Romania to Brooklyn in the 1950s and, following a stint in the garment industry (where he was skilled at copying expensive designs and selling them on the cheap), became a long distance running nut. The many folks--friends, foes, family, politicians, athletes--who talk about him in the course of producer-director Judd Ehrlich’s film describe Lebow as everything from a brilliant promoter and entrepreneur to a "chaos creator" and a master manipulator, but they all agree that without him, the New York City Marathon would never have hit its stride. It was Lebow who wooed the sponsors, attracted the best runners (also including Grete Waitz, who won the women’s division an astonishing nine times, and Alberto Salazar, another multiple winner), browbeat the city into closing bridges, streets, and such along the route, and dealt with the notorious Rosie Ruiz, who allegedly cheated in the New York race before achieving lasting infamy by "winning" the Boston Marathon in 1980. In fact, Lebow did pretty much everything except compete in his own race, at least until 1992, when he took part a couple of years after being diagnosed with brain cancer (he died in 1994). The documentary includes director’s commentary, deleted scenes, and more. --Sam Graham

Product Details

  • Actors: Neil Amdur, Gloria Averbuch, Abraham Beame, Bob Bright, Tom Brokaw
  • Directors: Judd Ehrlich
  • Producers: Judd Ehrlich, Moshe Katz, Prudence Arndt, Sam Bathrick
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Screen Media
  • DVD Release Date: October 28, 2008
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001E75PJ4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,454 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Run for Your Life" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Slow, boring, tedious.
Emily
He pursues serial relationships with young honeys but confesses that, once the thrill of the chase is gone, he gets bored with women.
Kevin Quinley
This film can teach you a lot about commitment, passion, believing and following every single dream in your being.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David Wallick on November 29, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
We owe the big-city marathon as it exists today to Fred Lebow, the subject of this documentary. His vision of what he wanted the NYC Marathon to be changed the way marathons are organized around the world.

This film looks at Fred and his life, specifically looking at the period from 1969 (the last year of the Cherry Tree Marathon in the Bronx, the precursor to the NYC Marathon) through the time of Fred's untimely death from brain cancer in 1994. There is amazing archival footage in the film and wonderful interview with those heavily involved in the marathon in the early years.

As a runner and NYC Marathon finisher, I found this film fascinating, though anyone who has an interest in history, New York City, and biographies of interesting individuals would greatly enjoy this movie.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Pellerine on November 18, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If you are a runner, take two hours (or so) and get to know the history a little. The history of modern road racing for the millions of people of all abilities, around the world who run marathons (especially inner-city marathons) is looked at here. I think an "intelligent" runner is better off knowing more of the whole game. This may not be about training, or world records per se, but while touching both of these areas it describes the higgen game of marathoning. It describes how the NYC Marathon evolved and had influenced other BIG marathons: Moscow, London, Tokyo, et cetera.

As well as going over the history and looking at the life of Fred Lebow, the man that has probably changed your life if you are an inner-city runner now, it is (for me) very motivational as some of the worlds top runners are shown and talk to us, the viewers, about how the marathon had evolved.

Brilliant !!!!! More than a 5 star from this runner. But an academically inclined runner? Perhaps . . . Just enjoy getting to know the sport a bit better :)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brian Hawkinson VINE VOICE on October 31, 2009
Format: DVD
I find it fascinating to read or watch documentaries on running in the early days, seeing what they went through and where the sport eventually got to. In Run For Your Life you not only get a biography of Fred Lebow, but you also get a bio of the NYC Marathon. I would dare say also that the big city marathon owes a lot of thanks to the pioneer trail blazed by Lebow and the NYC Marathon, allowing more runners to accomplish something as sweet as running 26.2 miles and making it accessible to all.

What I liked about this documentary were the first hand accounts from all those who were there in the beginning. Those hard core running fanatics who were considered nuts for what they were doing. We got to hear what they did before, during and after the NYC Marathon was started which adds a lot to the history of the sport. Additionally I enjoyed the video footage that helped visualize through the years where the marathon was and what the runners were doing. Arguably you could say that the beginning days of the marathon did a lot in furthering the sport as big name runners such as Rodgers, Salazar and Waitz brought the press in to the mix and in to the public eye.

Some downsides to the documentary, and I didn't find many, were there were some inconsistencies that made you wonder. Would you really tolerate a vendor charging you twice and not only not get upset but think that that made them smart and thus wanted to do business with them? Boston is arguably the more famous marathon in the world and yet they would say that the NYC Marathon is. Why would you go in to a meeting after hearing you lost money and say that you hoped you lost twice as much?

Overall I thought this was a great documentary for the sport and for Lebow and the NYC Marathon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 30, 2010
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
This film can teach you a lot about commitment, passion, believing and following every single dream in your being.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By NJ_Vlad on June 1, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
I bought this video initially just because I started to run and I needed some inspiration. But then I realized that it's not just about running but more about passion, life and death of a great person. He was far from being a saint but what a life and what a story!
Ended up buying a couple of more to give away as gifts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Angella Morin on December 31, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It wasn't as informative as I thought it would be. It is nice to see the amount of people talking about the sport.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marie L. Anti on December 22, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
History through and through.If you are a runner, even if you haven't ran the NYC Marathon, this movie is mesmerizing and a must watch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By rzen on December 22, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Amazing story about a person and his passion for sport , who may not have been an Olympian , but wasn't an average Joe in running
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