I hope you weren’t planning to get anything done this afternoon …
The #1 excuse I hear for why runners people fall behind on training isn’t lack of skill, speed, or strength.
It’s lack of motivation.
And I get it.
Running, whether you’re training for a big race, trying to lose weight, or just hoping to keep in shape, requires a lot of motivation. Day in. Day out.
So what do I do when all else fails? I sit on the couch, grab a snack, and open my laptop.
Yup, if I feel lazy, tired, and unmotivated, my favorite trick isn’t to fight it, but to give in, fire up YouTube, and hit play on a trail running video …
A good trail running video leaves you itching for the dirt and fresh air. It gets the leg juices flowing, and has you salivating for adventure.
And when that happens, the only cure is a run.
Back in 2014 I first shared this post, with 12 of my favorite running videos at the time, but during the two and a half years since, several new videos have made my top list. Today I update this post with not 12, but 37 epic trail and mountain running videos to keep you motivated for hours.
To keep things simple, I’ve split them into three categories:
- A Runner’s Story — videos that highlight inspiring runners and their passion for the sport.
- The Appeal of the Mountains — also known as trail porn.
- Not Just Another Race Video — a collection of the most motivational race videos on the web.
A Runner’s Story
Videos that highlight some of the most inspiring runners and their passion for the sport.
The Pleasure and the Pain
65-year-old Bay Area runner Errol “The Rocket” Jones knows running. He knows pain, dedication, and perseverance. This is his story.
The Grand Canyon Rim-Rim-Rim has gotten a lot of attention recently, and up until this summer, Rob Krar held the fastest known time (see Chasing Walmsley below). In this short film by Joel Wolpert, get a feel for what it’s like to run the Canyon, and follow Rob as he shares just a sliver of what inspires his running.
Why We Run
We all run for different reasons, but we’re all united by the run. This is one of my favorite Salomon Running TV episodes, which explores a few of the many things that make us runners tick.
Sarah Ridgway – Mountain Runner
“You can go anywhere and run. You can do it with anyone.”
Amen to that!
The Lion & The Gazelle
Joe Grant may be my favorite ultrarunner to follow. His way with written words (not featured in the film) and passion for the mountains keeps me mesmerized, and shines brightly through this epic Arc’teryx commercial leading up to the 2014 Hardrock 100.
The Running Connection
The appeal of mountain running (easy to understand in the beautiful San Juan mountains).
On the Road
Another Salomon Running TV episode, this time featuring Rickey Gates. Rickey lives a unique lifestyle, filled with travel and exploration. Running has become one of the many outlets that fuel his fire for adventure.
Is curiosity what motivates us to explore our world through running? This beautiful short film, shot mostly during the 2014 Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, tries to answer that question.
Ben Gibbard, the frontman for Death Cab for Cutie, loves to run trails. He even has a trail guide travel with him on tour. How cool is that?
15 Hours | with Ann Trason
Billy Yang’s 15 Hours follows the life of a runner for 15 hours. He kicked off the series with Brett Rivers and Anton Krupika, but I think this film with Ann Trason, 14 time winner of the Western States 100, captures her personality and spirit the best.
15 Hours | with Magdalena Boulet
On second thought, maybe this one is the best …
Do former MMA fighters make good ultrarunners? Apparently. This is the story of Kyle Dietz, a former MMA fighter training to compete at the RUT 50k.
The Appeal of the Mountains (aka Trail Porn)
The Crown Traverse
The Crown Traverse is a 600 mile route from Missula Montana to Banff, Alberta. Mike Foote and Mike Wolfe attempt the route on foot … and it’s wild.
The Ingenuous Choice
You know that anything featuring Anton Krupicka will have you drooling. The Ingenuous Choice is a reflection of the mountains and how they can heal us, featuring footage of Anton and others from the 2014 Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc.
Dakota Jones, Running Mountains
The line between mountain running and high alpine climbing grows blurrier by the year. In this video, Dakota talks about the appeal of moving quickly up high, and shares shots from a Mt. Rainier speed attempt.
It’s hard to argue against Kilian as the best mountain runner of all time, but his grace in the mountains doesn’t stop when the snow falls.
Another trip to the mountains with Dakota Jones, this time it’s his return trip to the Patagonia mountains, where the adventure is less about the run than it is the experience.
A Fine Line
This one makes my hands sweat. Follow Michael Tweedly — with incredibly dramatic areal views — as he runs up the Ben Nevis ridgeline in Scotland.
Holy crap. That’s fast.
Mile for Mile
Transport yourself to the majestic Patagonia with ultrarunners Krissy Moehl, Jeff Browning and Luke Nelson, as they run through the newly developed park by Conservacion Patagonica. As an added bonus, the video also shows the incredible work that organization is achieving.
Filmmaker and YouTube sensation Casey Neistat loves to run. It’s his addiction, and every runner can relate.
Fast and Light
Another brilliant film from Salomon Running TV, this time about the draw of moving quickly through the mountains, and the birth and growth of Sky Running.
The Joy of Running in a Beautiful Place
Not Just Another Race Video
MONT BLANC | CCC UTMB® 2015
The Nike Trail team went after it at Mont Blanc in 2015, and Billy Yang was there to capture the experience.
The Squamish 50/50
Ethan Newberry (aka The Ginger Runner)’s film from his attempt at The Squamish 50/50 — a 50 miler on Saturday and 50k on Sunday. It’s a neat documentary with lots of the twists and turns we all experience during races. He might not be an elite runner, but he’s a damn fun filmmaker.
A fun, lighthearted look at the grit, determination, and spirit of exploration that goes into training for and running the Hardrock 100. Featuring appearances from Sébastien Chaigneau, Joe Grant, and many more.
Kroger’s Canteen isn’t about a runner, instead it’s about an aid station — maybe the most famous aid station in ultra running — and the people and soul that makes it so unique. Kroger’s Canteen is perched on a tiny ledge at 13,100 feet along the Hardrock 100 course.
Miller VS Hawks
I think my favorite part about this film is hearing their breath and feeling the tension. This video perfectly captures the epic battle for first at the 2016 TNF Endurance Challenge in San Fransisco.
There are countless highs and lows leading up to and during a 100 mile race, and in this short film, Billy Yang beautifully captures the story of Sally McRae’s 2014 Western States experience.
“I really like running, so I don’t really know about stopping. I’d like to run until the day I die.” – Wally Hesseltine
Thirty Hours, a short film that chronicles 72 year old Wally Hesseltine’s 2016 Western States 100 journey, came out about three months ago, but I find myself watching it again and again this month.
Every wondered what it’s like to run down the Grand Canyon faster than anyone else? Here’s your chance.
In 2016, Jeff Browning set out to break the combined time record of the Western States 100 and Hardrock 100. They’re scheduled just a few weeks apart.
On July 1st, 2015, Gary Robbins set out to break the Wonderland Trail’s fastest known time, and The Ginger Runner was there to document the journey. The burly 93 mile Wonderland Trail circumnavigates Mount Rainier, with more than 24,000 feet of elevation gain.
Skiing the Hardrock 100
The Hardrock 100 is one of the most iconic ultramarathons in the United States. What would it take to cover the 100 mile course in the dead of winter?
Racing the Darkness
Follow Sage Canaday’s 2016 Western States 100. Spoiler, it doesn’t go as planned.
The Beauty of the Irrational
Ryan Sandes of South Africa is one of those soft spoken runners you can’t help but love. In this film, The African Attachment documents his attempt to redeem himself against the jaw dropping Fish River Canyon.
If your favorite trail running short film wasn’t included, be sure to share it with everyone in the comments below.