TotR: McFarland USA

For Tuesdays on the Run, Patty from My No-Guilt Life, Erika from MCM Mama Runs and I are sharing our favorite inspirational running movies and books. I’d love to read about yours too!  I’m still loving one of my new favorites, so I’m refreshing my post about it here!

I was excited to learn I sent my RSVP in time to get a spot in the runDisney Blog Meetup to see McFarland USA at Downtown Disney during Marathon weekend.  We had planned to head home around lunchtime, but changed our plans so I could stay for the 4pm movie.

We went to Animal Kingdom and we ended up staying a little later than I’d planned.  There was no line for Kali River Rapids (because it was chilly!!), so Eli talked me into riding it three times in a row.  Yes we got soaked!  We headed for the gate around 2pm and luckily a bus headed to Port Orleans was waiting for us.  Unfortunately, it took a while somehow and we didn’t end up getting to Riverside until about 3pm.  I sprinted through the resort to my car (we’d already checked out) so I could change into dry clothes (I really got SOAKED on Kali River Rapids).  I changed in the back seat of the car (not easy with SparkleSkirts!) and then sprinted to the boat dock to catch the boat to Downtown Disney.

And then waited.  And waited.  And waited.  I think the boat arrived around 3:40 and there was a big line.  I was super lucky to get on that boat because they only had room for two more and all the parties in front of me were larger than that, so one other “single rider” and I were able to get the last two spots.  Then we landed at the FAR end of Downtown Disney around 3:56.  Even though I wasn’t technically racing on Sunday, I figure I got at least a 5k in because once again, I had to sprint through Downtown Disney (luckily it wasn’t too crowded yet).  I made it to the AMC theaters around 4:05.  I was worried they wouldn’t let me in because I was late, but I squeaked in under the wire.  I didn’t have time to get popcorn or anything, but I found a great seat (those seats are really comfortable) and settled in just as the movie started.

Photo Credit: Disney

I hadn’t really heard of McFarland USA, and even though it’s a running movie I wasn’t sure it would appeal to me.  I’m not really into sports movies and just wasn’t sure what it would be like.  Well, within the first ten minutes, I was sucked right in.

Here’s a summary from the official movie site:

Inspired by the 1987 true story, “McFarland, USA” follows novice runners from McFarland, an economically challenged town in California’s farm-rich Central Valley, as they give their all to build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), a newcomer to their predominantly Latino high school. Coach White and the McFarland students have a lot to learn about each other but when White starts to realize the boys’ exceptional running ability, things begin to change. Soon something beyond their physical gifts becomes apparent—the power of family relationships, their unwavering commitment to one another and their incredible work ethic.

It’s really much more than a running movie or a sports movie, but I will tell you that when I went for my next run, I felt like I was flying because I was so inspired.  I had a few moments of teary eyes, lots of laughs and the whole audience erupted in applause on more than one occasion.  I know when I’m facing a tough spot in a run, just imagining that I’m facing some of the challenges the people from the true-story did helps me “suck it up buttercup” so I can push through.  The last scene of the movie, when you get to see how the real-life kids in the movie turned out is really powerful.

Disclosure: I was given free admission to the movie but received no other compensation.  All opinions are, as always, my own.

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