Jock Docs: Running

Curated by Laura Coxson


The Flashettes

Dir. Bonnie Friedman, 1977, 20 min.

The Flashettes concerns the story of a man who returns to his neighborhood in Bedford-Stuyvesant and decides that the best way to deal with the growing problems of alcoholism, drugs and teenage pregnancies is to start a track team for young girls ages six to sixteen. Through rigorous training and discipline, he is able to foster discipline, pride, and self-confidence where it is so sorely needed. The team becomes a second family of sorts for the young girls and by the end of the film when the girls journey to compete for the city-wide meet on Randall's  Island the audience is moved as much by the girls' undeniable prowess as runners and athletes as by their new found sense of belonging and self- esteem."An exciting and moving film that has something to say to everyone about women and sports, pain and exhilaration, the individual and society. See it."

- Womensports Magazine


Run For Your Life

Dir: Judd Ehrlich, 2008, 90 min.

Back in the '60s, the New York Road Runners Club was just a small group of men who ran on the streets of the Bronx. It took one eccentric first-generation Jewish immigrant from Transylvania to turn the NYRR into the largest organization of its kind in the world. Fred Lebow (the erstwhile Fischl Lebowitz) brought the runners to Central Park, where the first New York City Marathon was held in 1970. By the next year New York had two-thirds more runners than the Boston Marathon. But that was just the start for Lebow. Before "event marketing," when corporate sponsorship was in its infancy, Lebow was cutting deals, getting Playboy bunnies to race in the first women's mini-marathon, and helping to feed the growing popularity of running as a social activity. But it was the 26-mile, five-borough marathon, first held in 1976 during the city's financial crisis, that cemented Lebow's legacy. With a flair for showmanship, Lebow leveraged every opportunity, even the 1980 transit strike, to promote the benefits of running. He also faced scandals, including the Rosie Ruiz incident and revelations that he had paid athletes under the table. With New York City Marathon winners Bill Rodgers, Alberto Salazar, and Grete Waitz on hand, as well as many of Lebow's former colleagues, filmmaker Judd Ehrlich (the Emmy-nominated Mayor of the West Side) takes an affectionate look at a New York hero who inspired runners worldwide to go the distance. Fred Lebow's story is the story of the New York Marathon, a scrappy race around Central Park that evolved into a five-borough event that attracts thousands of runners from around the world. --Nancy Schafer, Co-Executive Director, Tribeca Film Festival

After the Screening: Conversation with Judd Ehrlich, Director of "Run For Your Life", Allan Steinfeld - former head of nyrr/marathon who took over when Fred Lebow passed away and Peter Roth former treasurer of NYRR