I watched the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials at the Lumberyard Brewing Company in Flagstaff last February. Every table was packed with happy people, chattering and chowing down as we watched hometown runners race for the right to represent our country in Tokyo in July.
How very long ago that feels; how very far away.
Next Sunday, we can relive the thrill and heartbreak of those Trials, and more. We have a VIP invitation to go behind the scenes with Aliphine Tuliamuk, Scott Fauble and four other runners on the NAZ Elite team, watching them prepare to chase the title of “Olympian.”
“A Time and a Place,” a new documentary by Stephen Kersh and Ryan Sterner, follows the team from their final races before Atlanta, through the 16-week training segment leading up to the Trials, and onto that hilly course where goals were achieved and hopes were dashed on Feb. 29, 2020.
Kersh and Sterner had the ingredients to cook up a uniquely tasty film. Five of the six athletes ranked top 10 in the United States in the marathon. These elites would be chasing an opportunity that only comes once in four years.
"Ben Rosario and NAZ Elite gave us the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Kersh. “They let us into their training sessions, their team meetings and their homes to really dig at the idea of what this special time means in their lives.”
I love a good running film, so “A Time and a Place” is a surefire hit at my house. But Kersh and Sterner hope the movie reaches beyond the running community.
“The humanity of running is what makes the sport so beautiful and so universal,” Kersh said in an interview with Citius. “Everyone deals with struggles. Everyone knows what it feels like to succeed. Our task was to just create a portrait of those very human emotions in a way that struck a chord with not only the people that understand Kellyn Taylor is incredibly fast but also people that understand Kellyn Taylor as a mother.”
People who saw the first screening of “A Time and a Place” on Feb. 13 sang its praises on Twitter.
“This was absolutely amazing to watch,” Joel Konderik wrote. “What an incredible job putting this together … just a perfect presentation of their story.”
“I often marvel at all the things I see NAZ Elite do and they are tremendous, but to add to that, @BenRosario1 can flat out coach his ass off,” Sean Kennedy tweeted.
The next streamed screening, on Feb. 28, is hosted by NAZ Elite and features a roundtable discussion with the six marathoners featured in the film, along with Coach Rosario. Let’s watch!
Julie Hammonds is an avid trail runner and the coordinating editor of High Country Running. Submit your columns and ideas via email to email@example.com.