By Pierre MORATH


Historical - Completed 2015

Through the fate of some characters with an exceptional destiny, "Free to run" tells the unknown adventure of the running, jogging and marathons emergence, as a popular sport opened to all, in the United States, in Europe, from the 70s to nowadays.

& Awards

Alès-Itinérances 2016
Valenciennes 2016
Docville Leuven 2016
    • Year of production
    • 2015
    • Genres
    • Historical, Documentary
    • Countries
    • Duration
    • 90 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Pierre MORATH
    • Producer(s)
    • Synopsis
    • From the streets of New York to the paths of the Swiss Alps, from Sao Paulo to Paris via London and Milan, tens of millions of men and women, some famous, but most of them unknowns, take part in distance races every year. Yet only 50 years ago, distance running was an exclusive, purely masculine sport confined to track events. Running was even thought to be harmful to health.

      Free to Run tells the amazing story of the free running movement and modern distance runners, from champions to unknowns, over four decades of unprecedented social change.

      The way the sport has evolved from the idealistic beginnings of jogging at the start of the Sixties to the boom in running and grass-roots marathons as a business from the 1990s reflects the ways in which society has changed, from the era of social revolution that began in the late 1960s with mass protests against authority by European and US students, to the triumph of individualism and the consumer society in the 1990s.

      The film will make plentiful use of first-hand accounts to relate this compelling and dramatic story. It will relate how women fought a long, hard struggle for the right to run, how distance athletes rebelled against the arbitrary rules imposed by the all-powerful sports federations, how a small magazine dreamt up in the Swiss mountains revolutionized attitudes to running worldwide, and how the most famous distance race of all − the 42-kilometre marathon − went from being seen as a grueling feat of endurance you had to be crazy to embark on to a wonderful experience open to everyone who enjoys a challenge.

      The story is told through the lives of a handful of remarkable individuals: Bill Bowerman, the American coach who discovered jogging and founded the brand Nike; Kathrine Switzer, one of the first women marathon runners, who disguised herself as a man in order to enroll; Steve Prefontaine, the rebel 1970s track star; Noël Tamini, the bard of distance running who sparked a cult of endurance; and Fred Lebow, who turned the New York Marathon from a modest grass-roots event into the biggest race in the world.

      The film will consist chiefly of archival material, interviews with the main protagonists and other eye-witnesses, and new footage of several representative present-day marathons.

      It will tell a human story with universal relevance, interweaving the lives of real-life heroes with a stunning epic in sound and pictures to reveal the connections between sport, history with a capital “H”, and social and cultural history.