Sometimes you come across something that stops you in your tracks and truly speaks to your heart. The Women of the Mountain film project impacted me this way a couple of days ago. Led by journalist Rebecca Byerly, the film follows her story and those of three other women who come to terms with challenges in their life by running ultra marathons.
Except they are not twenty-somethings in bright lycra bounding over the Alps or through city parks like many running films, they are middle aged – juggling careers, relationships, families and heartbreak. Step by step they are finding meaning, becoming better people and even changing the lives of others, through running very long distances.
Over the last three and a half years, Rebecca Byerly has filmed across three continents to tell a powerful story about three seemingly ordinary – yet truly extraordinary – women who run the world’s longest, most mountainous ultra-marathons. Women of the Mountain is a deeply personal film that explores the physical and emotional terrain of their lives, as well as her own. In the film, grueling 200-mile races through the Himalayas, Alps and Sierra Nevada serve as a backdrop to the testament of the human spirit, the enduring bonds of female friendship, and the need to hold onto and strengthen family ties no matter how painful that may be.
This film has inspired me to embrace and trust in my own journey to become a mountain leader and long distance runner. As Rebecca says, they ‘shatter the idea that with age we can’t take on new challenges and risks’. With resilience it’s absolutely possible to ‘rise above’ and conquer our challenges – be they culture, age, gender or parameters set by society – to achieve our dreams.
Film due out Jan 2018