Dash of hope

Birdy’s Backyard Ultra was filmed in Lake Towerrinning in WA.

THE human spirit will be celebrated this month with a series of inspiring films about running at Luna On SX in Fremantle. 

Now in its sixth year, The RunNation Film Festival showcases the best short movies about running from across the globe in a special two hour screening.

The festival transcends running and is really a medium for telling fascinating stories about individuals who defied the odds. 

One of the most topical films in the festival is Blazing Trail, which provides a unique insight into the Australian bush through the eyes of fire fighter and trail runner Caine Warburton.

We see him on the front line, defending Queensland from bushfire devastation, close to one year since the fires engulfed Australia.

His passion for trail running the ridgelines of the gorgeous Mt Barney is palpable, as he looks to safeguard the fragile ecology of the regenerating National Park. 

Those who think runners are a bit obsessed and fanatical, will enjoy Confessions of a Runner.

The film follows Patrick Vaughan – an accomplished trail runner, small business owner, parent, and survivor of serious physical impairments – as he shares his story of healing and redemption while pursuing the record for completing the 470km Lebanon Mountain Trail.  

Confessions of a Runner is a blend of eye-popping scenery, extreme human achievement and revealing personal stories.

The powerful Fenice: Running for Life tells the story of Najla, who was born in the middle of the Libyan Desert and then raised in Italy.

She struggled to escape the life that her extremist parents exposed her to, and attempted suicide at the age of 16. 

Soon after, Najla was reborn stronger and more positive than ever. 

Now 25, she’s inspiring and motivating everyone to follow her true passion – running – helping people with disabilities, recovering drug addicts or just people who never ran before.  

Birdy’s Backyard Ultra, filmed in Lake Towerrinning in WA, documents a gruelling event where competitors do a 6.71km route around a lake, on the hour, every hour until the last one standing.

Five runners at this year’s event share what it takes to do this format of ultra marathon running, which is ultimately more about mental determination, grit and strength than physical ability.

Another topical film is Unfenced, which is set in The Red Desert in southwest Wyoming, the largest unfenced area in the continental US. Pressure from the oil and gas lobby is currently shaping how the Bureau of Land Management administers this unique landscape. 

To raise awareness about this threatened ecosystem, several Wyoming conservation groups have banded together to organise a trail race that lets runners, local stakeholders and concerned citizens see exactly what is at stake.

RunNation is on October 15 and 16 at Luna On SX in Fremantle. Tix at lunapalace.com.au/home

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