I don’t claim to know how the Youtube algorithm works, but every now and then the “suggestions” feed serves up the kind of film you originally came to Youtube for. Something you have never heard of and oftentimes would have never found, had it not been for this mysterious algorithm. And so was the case with the new feature length ultra running documentary from “the Folkway” channel, Into The Well: 100 Miles. 32 Hours. 200 Racers. The story of a race director and 2 runners taking on their first 100 mile race, running through the nation’s newest national park, West Virginia’s New River Gorge National Park. So enjoy the review and full length film embedded below.
Into The Well: 100 Miles. 32 Hours. 200 Racers. – Ultra Running Documentary Review
This isn’t the story of the of the biggest or toughest ultra, a head to head of the biggest names in running, or a runner going for a new FKT. Rather Into The Well: 100 Miles. 32 Hours. 200 Racers. Follows the race director Bryant Baker and two runners as they take on the biggest challenge of their running lives. For professional runners and training partners HollyAnn Swan and Caleb Bowen, this will be their first 100. Pushing well past the distance either has ever run before.
But don’t go into this film expecting to see two pros showing off, too much. The film’s director Anthony Greene does a great job of leading viewers through the build up, highs, and lows that humanizes even the most gifted runners. It also helps that both HollyAnn and Calib are both very likable characters. And I was humbled by Race Director Bryant Baker’s efforts to give back to the community he calls home. Bringing 200 racers and crew to a small area like this does wonders for the economy and local charities.
Likable characters are not all that Into the Well has going for it. The film is beautifully shot, with stunning drone footage and scenic landscape shots from a place most of us have never been. I’ll make sure to include all the film credits below. I know a lot of the comments are from people saying they are not runners, and just fell in love with the way the film is shot and the story unfolds.
The Rim to River 100 Miler – AKA the Race
With all of the build up and suspense of the pre-race training a prep, race day is not without plenty of drama of its own. Seeing it both from a race director and runners perspective makes this film very unique. With everything from the soundtrack to night shots of headlamps in the distance playing into the atmosphere leading up to the start.
The Rim to River 100 course features a total 102 miles with 9,750 ft of elevation gain. A relatively flat course as far as 100 millers go. And runners have a 32 hour cut off to finish. Once the race kicks off into high gear, the focus of the film goes to the runners and crew. Providing great insight into what goes on behind the scenes of a 100 mile race. As well as what is going through the minds of the racers as they battle it out physically and mentally over a long, long, long race.
Without spoiling the ending, I can say both of the featured athletes and all those that toed the line at this event were warriors. No one finishes their first 100 miler the same person as they started. And those lessons are on full display in this one. Along with some incredible footage that fully immerse you in the depth of course. You may want to run a 100 miler after watching this one.
One thing I do want to note about the film is they feature a couple of scenes where the crew chief is giving his runner IBUprofen. Never take this while performing intense physical activity and this is especially true with endurance events. Here is a link with a half dozen studies showing you why. One of note being it has been shown to “drastically” increase the chances of acute kidney failure in endurance runners.