I would give the "Spirit of the Marathon" *** out of five stars.
Basic plot of the movie was focused on 6 runners as they prepared for the Chicago Marathon (2005). The movie followed the training of two elite athletes, Deena Caster (Olympic bronze medalist in Athens in 2004) and Kenyan-born Daniel Njenga (top finisher at Chicago numerous years). Also included were a couple first timers, single mom, Boston qualifier hopeful, and a 60+ father running with his daughter.
With the recent violence in Kenya and death of Elite runner Wesley Ngetich (winner of the Grandma's Marathon 2005, 2007) it was sad to see the story of Daniel Njenga's. He was trying to make a living to support his family working and training in Japan only to have his home burned and family members killed. The movie showed the drama of elite athletes training and the intensity of the final miles coming down to the finish. The movie made me realize how much top runners are underpaid for their performances.
For some reason I enjoyed the 65 year old man training with his daughter. I think he had the Spirit of the marathon.
I also enjoyed some of the vintage footage and history of the marathon. The movie had some interesting interviews with great runners such as Shorter, Rodgers, and Radcliffe just to name a few.
The two first timers in the movie did my pet peeve. Putting your name on your shirt. When I ran my first Boston back in 93' there was a runner behind me about 10 meters. I was very annoying to hear his name called out for 12+ miles every 10-20 seconds. It was pleasant when he finally started to fade.
One of my friends wore a shirt in the Boston Marathon that had Cleveland on the front. Unfortunately the Red Sox and the Indians happened to be playing a series in Boston the same weekend as the marathon. At this time the Indians were the defending American League Champions. The Indians were having a good series in Boston, but unfortunately my friend's marathon was not going as planned. The hard core Boston fans watching the marathon were letting him have it. He said he heard the phrase "Cleveland Sucks" so many times he decided to stop and turn his shirt inside out. A lesson to learn.