We all have that special friend in our life. That friend who pushes us, supports us, makes us laugh, mad, happy, etc. All of us have gone through life with a special person whether it be a family member or just a really good friend. Brendan Leonard and Jayson Sime have known each other since college and have remained friends ever since. Brendan comments that Jayson has had a tough life, and as a result, chooses to do his best at whatever he tries and never gives up. Jayson and Brendan represent true friendship, and their documentary How to Run 100 Miles demonstrates how a strong friendship can help us through the most difficult situations.
How to Run 100 Miles, the twenty-eight-minute documentary Leonard co-directed with Aidan Haley, follows his and his best friend Jayson Sime’s preparation for Run Rabbit Run 100, an ultra-marathon in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. An ultra-marathon is a marathon that is 100 miles or longer, and Brendan claimed that he hates to run, but knew doing it with Jayson would be an experience he wouldn’t forget, and knew that if he felt he couldn’t do it, he could rely on Jayson to pick him up.
The documentary consists primarily of voice-over narration (mainly from Leonard), interviews, and a few stills. The stills help us as the viewers understand the struggles Jayson had gone through in his life, from his parents divorcing when he was nine, to living impoverished with his mother and five siblings. Also through stills, we are shown that Jayson was a wrestler, and at first wasn’t very good, but then worked hard, and became one of the top wrestlers at his school by his senior year. With the help of the images, we feel that once we approach the race portion of the film we have the feeling that Jayson and Brendan will finish, even if they struggle along the way, as they watch each other’s backs in the process.
Brendan mentions in interviews throughout the documentary that he is truly inspired by Jayson. The story highlights the struggles the two men encounter preparing and participating in the Run Rabbit Run 100. Co-director Aidan Haley may be never mentioned in the film, but Leonard is there the whole time, and keeps the story alive with his witty comments and great respect for his best friend.
Jayson, meanwhile, provides the viewers with plenty of laughs, as he drops a good amount of one-liners about the joys and woes of running. Every runner watching will smile when at their triumphs and appreciate their struggles. Both men have friends and family members who have participated in big races: one of their friends is a New York City Marathon finisher, and he will provide you with insight as to how to keep pace, what to do and what not to do. The men’s families will also make you realize they are loved and will be in good hands during their recovery time.
Overall, How to Run 100 Miles make us root for both men to finish the ultra-marathon under thirty-six hours, the cut-off time. Co-drectors Leonard and Haley make us feel the true power of the two men’s friendship and effort. Friendship is not something you find around the corner. Friendship is a gift, and when you can find someone who hates to run but agrees to run an ultra-marathon with you, I would say you have found a keeper.