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A touching documentary about a man on a mission

My Run: Rates a A.
Courtesy photo

I’ve seen thousands of movies over the years. This wasn’t just because my folks got HBO when I was a tot, and I rented movies religiously. All my friends got jobs at movie theatres as teenagers. That meant free movies.

I’m a movie critic now and that means watching 10 movies a week.

My girlfriend and I have gravitated towards documentaries as a favorite genre. It seems most of them we find interesting on some level. The same can’t be said for the normal crap Hollywood churns out.

Imagine my surprise when at a small film festival in San Diego, I see the much hyped Waiting for Superman and am disappointed.

The last day of the festival, I see a little documentary called My Run. It has me crying – tears of sadness and tears of joy -- for 90 minutes straight.

I remember being a kid that jumped and screamed with excitement as Rocky Balboa came close to beating Apollo Creed. And I have to watch year after year, as sports movies recycle the same clichés. Or, they’re just a tad too corny for me to really love (Hoosiers and Rudy, to name a few).

My Run is the story of Terry Hitchcock. In the 1990s, he decided to run 75 consecutive marathons, in 75 days.

Now, before you start imagining some guy that looks like Carl Lewis…instead think Carl’s Jr. This is a man in his late 50s, who looks like Anthony Hopkins. And looks like he hasn’t run a day in his life.

He lost a wife to breast cancer, and soon after, lost his job.

He raised his three kids on his own and decided to do this run to raise awareness for single parents raising kids.

As he runs from Minnesota to the Olympics in Atlanta, you can imagine some of the hurdles he’ll have to face. You might even think Anthony Hopkins in The Edge, since both men had to face bears (yes, you read that correctly).

It was fascinating listening to Hitchcock tell his story, the narration from Billy Bob Thornton, and his three kids (two of whom were on his support team, one of which bailed; it’s tough even for the folks in cars doing a marathon a day). The footage from the actual run is also a thrill to watch. Aside from that opening of the first James Bond movie Daniel Craig did, I can’t remember ever being as thrilled watching someone “run” in a movie.

Watching Hitchcock, who has very little to smile about, light up as he goes into a class room to speak with children; or calling up a morning show and trying to act upbeat, even with pain in every muscle – is perhaps more inspirational than any sports film you’ll ever see.

This ranks up there as one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had in a movie theater.

It made me feel guilty when I left, that I complained to my girlfriend for parking the car too far away.

Run, don’t walk, to catch this in the theatres when it's released.

I’m giving it an A.