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Running The Sahara [DVD] [2008]

4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Matt Damon
  • Directors: James Moll
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Revolver Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 6 April 2009
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,045 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Narrated by Academy AwardTM winner Matt Damon and directed by Academy AwardTM winner James Moll, Running The Sahara is an epic true-life story of three men s unprecedented quest. Exploring the physical and emotional impact of one of greatest tests of strength and determination ever seen. The men fight through injury and extreme physical and emotional fatigue in their unbelievable 111-day journey. Charlie, Ray and Kevin travel across 6 countries, covering nearly 5,000 miles, in a journey measured as much by the depth of their experience, as by the incredible physical achievement.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The 3 runners completed an incredible feat of super-ultra-running and deserve huge acclaim for this. However, for what should have been an awe-inspiring DVD production, I found the DVD quite uninspiring. As a runner, I was hoping to gain some insight into the distance, obstacles & personal hardships the runners endured & overcame. The only character / personality really explored was the American guy - the stories & personalities of the Canadian & Taiwanese men were not developed at all, but to me, it seemed that they had as much, if not more, of a background story.

The Matt Damon commentary was minimal - the runners did most of the commentary themselves, which was much more interesting, but I found the DVD splash title "Matt Damon commentary" a little misleading given the amount he featured in commentary.

Also, the African water problem, which let's face it, is, and has been for many many years, well-documented and featured, was only mentioned a couple of times, and then almost as an aside. I cringed when the runners gave the impression that this water-shortage / water-access issue was something they had just discovered!

Even after finishing watching the DVD, I was left wondering & confused as to what the real reason was for producing the DVD - personal achievement, publicising the African water issue, business project, or some other reason? Amazing achievement guys, but the story as told on DVD just didn't inspire me.
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Format: DVD
When I started running again in 2008, there was an article I distinctly remembered reading about a guy who had pretty similar high school running credentials to mine and then had gotten into some trouble while attending the University of North Carolina, ultimately getting back into running later in his 20's with a great deal of success. This article was Jeff Pearlman's Runner's World profile on Greensboro's Charlie Engle. Now while my twenties weren't nearly as wild as Charlie's were, running was something that took a back seat to "socializing" and then came back into play around my 30th birthday. So when the opening scenes of the film showed Charlie running on Irwin Belk Track at Fetzer Field and in the Eddie Smith Field House, I was hooked.

All this being said, I found it shocking earlier this year when news surfaced that Charlie had been arrested for fraud as "IRS special agent Robert Nordlander began looking into Engle's finances after reading a story about the ultramarathon across the desert and wondered how Engle could afford to pay for such an adventure." This just goes to show, don't try to cheat the IRS, "they read the newspaper."

All this aside, "Running the Sahara" was an enjoyable documentary about Charlie, Ray Zahab, and Kevin Lin running over 4300 miles in 111 days across Africa, the equivalent of 170 marathons with no days off. Quite a feat to say the least! The cinematography was great as was the narration, which was done by Matt Damon, who also was an executive producer on the project. There were some expected testy moments as runners can get a little grumpy and running in sandstorms would likely make one extremely on edge.
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By Bob Salter TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Aug. 2011
Format: DVD
Running across the Sahara must go down as one of the great ultra running achievements in history. My own pathetic attempts at fell running wilt like a gert big wilty thing before the sort of statistics these men rack up. 4,400 miles, the equivalent to 170 marathons. There are mere mortal runners and then there are these guys. They really are born to run, and it is deep in the DNA. I am sure they needed little encouragement to get involved in this project. Ostensibly to highlight the water shortage in the Saharan regions and the need for wells, although this is hardly mentioned in the film, it seems to be more an excuse to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. We get to see some magnificent scenery especially in the desolation of the Tenere in Niger. There are some lovely Beau Geste moments with sand blowing around the runners. The exotic city of Timbouktou, and the mayhem of Cairo are both visited on this odyssey. No camera travelling this journey could fail to convey some of the grandeur of the worlds greatest desert, unless they filmed their feet.

On the down side we learn little about how the project was conceived and the logistics behind the run. We are also left in the dark about the runners and their own personal achievements. What sort of training did they do to get to their level? What races have they already competed in? The landscapes they pass through are just an attractive blur, and unlike Michael Palin's "Sahara" we do not get any in depth conversations with the locals. This makes the team appear like 'strangers in a strange land' passing through an alien landscape. They simply run and run, and then run some more. Not the stuff of great documentaries it has to be said!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film is well deserved of its acclaim as for someone whom running is a passion this film takes ultra running to new highs. Running 2 marathons a day for 111 days goes beyond belief for most even the hardest of ultra runners and how they all find the will to carry on when so many would've given up way back down the road is inspirational. I'll always think of this film when i'm on a long run miles from home and feeling like I want to stop.

The only downside to this film is the fact that after a while of watching it you begin to forget just how far they've actually run even though they flash the distances up at regular intervals. Also part of the film is to bring to attention the water problem through the African Sahara but only on a couple of occasions are you remembered of this fact.

Overall 5 stars for a brilliantly well made documentary showing once again how far us mere mortals can be pushed.
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