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Running on the Sun (1999)

Adam Bookspan , Angelika Castaneda , Mel Stuart  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

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Frequently Bought Together

Running on the Sun + Unbreakable: The Western States 100 + Hal Koerner's Field Guide to Ultrarunning: Training for an Ultramarathon, from 50K to 100 Miles and Beyond
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Product Details

  • Actors: Adam Bookspan, Angelika Castaneda, Eric Clifton, Maria De Jesus, Jack Denness
  • Directors: Mel Stuart
  • Producers: Mel Stuart, Christine Z. Wiser, Kirk Friedman, Leland Hammerschmitt, Richard Houghton
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Rhino Theatrical
  • DVD Release Date: July 22, 2003
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000A02X7
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #224,568 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Running on the Sun" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

There is no prize money for winning the Badwater 135. No medals. No trophies. Those who finish in less than two days receive a belt buckle - it's little reward for completing a 135-mile course that winds uphill, through oppressive heat, violent windstorms, and grueling terrain. Artfully capturing the blurry line between courage and craziness, four-time Emmy award -winning director Mel Stuart and his crew follow 13 racers who compete less against each other than against their own physical and psychological limitations. Enduring blisters, nausea, dehydration, hallucinations, and a litany of other afflictions that come with ultra-marathoning (one racer had his toenails surgically removed), each man and woman entered in the race embodies a compelling story of triumph and determination - whether they finish the race first or not at all. Special Features: Interview with four-time Emmy-winner Mel Stuart Interview with Badwater Ultramarathon race organizer Chris Kostman

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
A film by Mel Stuart

"Running on the Sun" is a documentary dealing with the Badwater 135 Ultra-marathon. While an ultra-marathon is defined as any race with a distance longer than a marathon (26.2 miles), Badwater is a grueling 135 mile race beginning in Death Valley (Badwater, California, elevation 282 feet below sea level) and ascending to 8000 feet by the race's end which includes an 18 mile stretch where the elevation rises over 5000 feet. With temperatures reaching 125 degrees in the middle of the day, the Badwater 135 is perhaps the nastiest race in the world. Only forty runners were invited to run Badwater in 1999.

This documentary focuses on a cross section of some of the competitors to give an accurate portrait of what Badwater is and what Badwater does to a person. From a Marine to a man with a prosthetic leg to a 68 year old man to the current record holder of Badwater to a woman from England who put herself into debt to make it to Badwater, "Running on the Sun" has an interesting cast of characters. But then anyone actually willing to attempt Badwater probably has to be an interesting person. So many of these runners are just ordinary people with an extraordinary drive, passion, and commitment. Very few runners are actually trying to win the race, or break a record, but rather they are seeking the incredible personal accomplishment of finishing (60 hours or less) and perhaps even chase the goal of finishing in under 48 hours and thus earning the symbol of pride: The Badwater Belt Buckle. Only those few who can finish in under 48 hours can earn that belt buckle (and they do "earn" it).

"Running on the Sun" touches upon why someone would run Badwater and what it takes. We see graphic footage of the feet of some of the runners and it isn't pretty.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
We're runners and would usually prefer to BE running, than to WATCH running. But, this is an excellent film. It's well-done and kept our interest throughout. It was painful to watch at times as these folks suffered along trying to do 135 miles, but yet, we couldn't take our eyes off. Highly recommended if you are a runner of any distance.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Inspiration December 9, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
As a long distance runner, this movie was extremely inspirational and made me feel not so wacky with my running distances. :)

The documentary starts out with snippits of some of the participants and then goes into the prerace meeting. Even before they reached the starting line i was moved by the movie. I have never raced Badwater, but have raced enough to know what emotions you feel at the start and to even begin to imagine how they feel starting off on the Badwater 135 is overwhelming.

The remainer of the film chronicles several runners from the front of the pack on back. Also you see a lot of interaction between the runners and their crews and their families. It is moving to see how different each person deals with the trials and tribulations of the ultimate ultra. To see them sweating in the desert before the race even started, wow.

Then, comes the end of the movie and it is emotional to see each and every runner cross the line and break the tape. Amazing.

The extras on the DVD were interesting too.

If you are a long distance runner, marathon on up, you should definitly watch this. If you are interested in endurance sports or crazy athletes, this movie is a highly recommended one. Amazing. I finished it and wanted to watch it all over again.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating September 22, 2005
I loved this film. And I don't think you need to be a runner to marvel at what these folks put themselves through. The Badwater event has intrigued me for a couple years now. I've hovered over the "BUY NOW" button on Amazon for a while but I'm thankful that I finally made the purchase. I consider myself an ordinary distance runner. Nothing special. I simply try to go from point A to point B. But these folks are in a class all their own. The film is very well done with a good bit of backstory on some runners including some of their training strategies (which were incredible just by themselves). It also takes the viewer through the highs and deep lows of the Badwater experience, leaving nothing out. Highly recommend.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent... September 17, 2005
This movie is not just about a grueling 135 mile foot race through Death Valley and up the side of Mt. Whitney - it is a glimpse at what the human spirit is capable of.

I'm a middle of the pack ultrarunner and it has become a tradition that before races and some long training runs I watch this documentary. The people profiled in it (ranging from a young British woman who has "always wanted to do a bit of running" to a man who lost his leg and arm clearing landmines for charity) are all the models of courage and determination.

I've watched this documentary so many times I feel like I know the people in it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars UltraMindGame with Self August 22, 2006
By K. Cook
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I keep watching this documentary over and over, shedding tears every time. I am now obsessed with Badwater. I have volunteered to be on a crew next year. Even though some of the rules have changed since this was made, the documentary successfully recorded the battle one has with self to get thru 135 miles of insane terrain! I was surprised to see what kind of people run this kind of thing - such a wide cross section of runner types. If you think you "can't" do something, watch this DVD and see the handicap runners finish 135 miles in extreme temps!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars DVD skips at end and can't watch the finish. it freezes up. Highly...
The DVD stops five minutes before the end. I cleaned it and it's still won't play. Do I have an y recourse?
Published 9 months ago by Debra Shepack
5.0 out of 5 stars I crewed for a runner in this race. This movie helped me to get an...
This movie was very helpfull to get an idea on how to crew for a runner in Bad Waters
I crewed last week and it helped.
Published 14 months ago by Janebeille
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good DVD
Awesome how people can achieve these things. I have run full marathons but it is nothing compare to what these people do
Published 16 months ago by Diego
5.0 out of 5 stars There are alternatives
I've wanted to watch this for quite some time now, but have never seen it for less than $80 used on Amazon. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Nathan T. Herzog
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth watching a second time
Cool movie....ah.... I mean hot movie. I rented this movie and watched it twice over the weekend. If you are into running at all you will probably find this movie very... Read more
Published on June 14, 2010 by Canoeist
5.0 out of 5 stars The human body is amazing!
As an avid runner I was interested in watching this movie. I was in awe at what these people were able to accomplish. My husband who is not a runner enjoyed the film as well! Read more
Published on February 8, 2010 by mbeaty77
4.0 out of 5 stars At once heart breaking as well as heart lifting...
I thoroughly enjoyed this running documentary. The viewer followers a select group of runners as they traverse 135 miles of the most grueling weather and terrain. Read more
Published on November 24, 2009 by Brian Hawkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars ultramarathon
This film is great. Documents a few runners that are going to run the 135 mile ultramarathon. It starts from their training for the race to the end of the race. Read more
Published on November 16, 2009 by P. Martinez
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational whether or not you have ever run.
I find the documentary to be inspirational to runners and non-runners alike. In order to finish the race through hellish Death Valley, each runner has to reach far and beyond... Read more
Published on August 6, 2009 by CAM
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning
This movie is stunning and powerful. At points, it is raw-- as you watch these runners that may be very prepared but still may not finish such an amazing feat... Read more
Published on July 8, 2008 by H. A. Dennis
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