Documentary Review: Running the Sahara

My husband is such an amazing guy. Granted, he doesn’t quite understand why I enjoy running so much, but he knows that I love running and racing and he supports me. He knows that I love running so much that when he came across the documentary “Running the Sahara” playing on Showtime, he made sure to tape it for me because he knew I would like to watch it. He was right.

 The documentary, which is narrated by Matt Damon, is an hour and 45 minutes long and it tells the story of three runners who attempt to run across the Sahara desert. These men, who come from different worlds, unite through ultra running and set out to run from the Atlantic Ocean to the Rea Sea on the continent of Africa. They are joined by a team of people, including a medic, physical therapist, and navigator among other people and their goal is to get one man to run the whole expedition. They plan to run more than 4,400 miles in less than 100 days! That is more than a marathon each and every single day without rest! Along their journey, they come in contact with some of the local people and learn about their lives and their struggles. They even help out with the water problem.

People say that running is 90 percent mental and 10 percent training, and the journey the men take is living proof of this. While these runners were in excellent running shape and they trained relentlessly for this journey, it wasn’t their athletic ability that pushed them to keep going when it got tough, it was their sheer will power, determination, and heart.

Overall, I really enjoyed this documentary and I would recommend it as a good watch for every runner. While watching these men attempt a phenomenal feat, I laughed with them and I cried for them. This film was triumphant, emotional, and inspirational. My only negative comment about this film is that I felt as if it didn’t focus on the runners’ emotions, inner-thoughts, and the physical issues that they dealt with. I did not really feel their anguish, their hope, their frustration, or their pain. I did not feel as invested with these runners as I did with Dean Karnazes in his book 50/50, where he documents his journey to raise money by running 50 marathons, in 50 days, in each of the 50 United States. And, quite frankly, Dean Karnezes’ 50/50 expedition is a 5K compared to the ultra marathon these men set out to run in the Sahara desert.

For more information about the film, the athletes, the run, or the cause, please visit:


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