How could a dark Monday night get transformed into a bright evening? For me it happened sitting in a small film studio in Soho watching Town of Runners. This feature documentary, out in April, will make you proud to be part of the Olympics whether you are watching or taking part. Most of all it will make you proud to be part of a developing world where the implausibility of youthful optimism and friendship exposes and outshines political underhandedness.
Town of runners is about the fortunes of young athletes. It’s narrated by a shopkeeper with a trainer and two girls commenting on their unfolding story. They are all from the Ethiopian rural town of Bekoji home to the Olympic World champions Tirunesh Dibaba and Keenisa Bekele. The film follows the girls who are keen to step in their hero’s footsteps from school track to national competition and from childhood to adulthood. Likewise the town is changing.
Their mentor is a sparky and wise former PE teacher who has discovered and trained many of the world’s leading long distance runners including the first African woman to win Olympic Gold. And a stooped shopkeeper (himself a teen whose voice breaks within the film) watches and narrates from his counter through the wooden awning. His town is famous for being the source of champions. Town of Runners is a beautifully set series of stories from one village in Ethiopia effortlessley intertwined into one timeless documentary. Brilliant. Make sure you run out and see it when it shows.
On an extra note I have become an avid fan of RUNDEMCREW so I hope they go see this in April.