Finding Traction

Last night I was struggling to sleep, and so decided to put on a documentary to try to sleep… I chose a documentary called “Finding Traction” which was described as such:

“Finding Traction” presents the inspirational story of ultra runner Nikki Kimball and her quest to become the fastest person in history to run America’s oldest hiking trail, the 273-mile Long Trail. The documentary asks what drives her to attempt such an incredible feat, and follows Nikki’s journey from its beginning – training and racing in the Rocky mountains – to her actual record attempt through Vermont’s beautiful but brutal Green Mountains.

Boy it’s a difficult watch. Nikki goes through the entire gamut of emotions during the nearly 1h40 film, from unbridled determination, through elation, childish excitement to pain, depression and exhaustion. There’s a little more america bravado in there than I can normally cope with, but overall it’s a fantastic insight into the mind of a truly word class ultra runner.

The trail itself looks hideously treacherous. Much of the film you see Nikki basically power walking up and down very ragged broken rock faces; her time spent actually running in the film is very little in comparison. The film talks about her background and influences as well as some of her hopes in terms of what taking on the challenge will mean for her and the charity she supports.

Disappointingly there’s not much actual technical take away in terms of how an amateur trail or ultra runner might improve their fitness or technique. The film was very focused on the ‘female’ aspect of ultra running, and kept reiterating that at ultra-distances the physical capabilities between men and women begin to blur, and it’s anyone’s game.

If you want to see the film, it’s available on NetFlix.

The website for the film is available here:

Suffice to say… It didn’t help me sleep! :)

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