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A SHORT FILM: long distance runner

February 20, 2013


Long Distance Runner is screening on Saturday, April 13th at 5PM. Tickets are available here.

I encourage anyone attending the 2013 Boston Marathon to stop by–all of the films look amazing!


I started running a little later in life however it’s become a huge part of my existence. It’s my safe place. My zen. My solitude. I have no problem running when it’s 15°F. I’ll run anywhere, anytime. And when I can’t run–it’s figuratively heart-breaking.

Side note: If you are a runner over the age of 35 I do highly recommend this read from The New Yorker. Very inspiring.

Running metaphorically speaks to certain aspects of my personality. There’s an element of self-reliance–it’s a game played against one’s self. Nothing is worse than playing softball and fucking up an easy play to first base only to suffer the groans of fellow teammates. In contrast, if I don’t beat my best time in a 5K I know I’ve only let myself down, not an entire team. In this way I’d rather lead myself to the wee promise of success than an entire group to the great possibility of defeat.

I wrote and recorded “Long Distance Runner” in Providence, Rhode Island in the winter of 2008. Since then the song has rested on my hard drive never really seeing the light of day.

I suspect I wasn’t in the best of headspace as the lyrics might suggest. I don’t want to pound out the details as, to me, they seem fairly obvious. Thematically, the overall message is coming to terms with the inevitability of no longer being able to go the distance. At some point we all lose the capacity to be “long distance runners”; and for some, that point comes earlier or later depending on one’s circumstances.

ldr titling 3

whispers they burn, cold frozen prose
footsteps below that nobody knows
bending the curve, breathed in the miles
left it behind in miracle style

set myself up
set myself up
well I know it sounds absurd, but I shut myself down

distance the days, seldom the nights
crossing the river, the silver, the light

set myself up
set myself up
well I know it sounds absurd, but I shut myself down
and I know it seems I’ve lost it, my feet hit the ground

I know, I know, I know…

Cheerful, really.

I’ve been running some five mile and 5k races in Boston and placing in the top 5-10%. Many of which I come across on–an aggregator for road races throughout the area of Boston and beyond. They posted a call for entries for a running themed film festival and I decided to put something together. Finally, a use for this damn song.

I filmed myself running using my iPhone 4. After some test shots I discovered that the moving footage was kind of mesmerizing. (Probably just to me.) Fantastically, and luckily, a month of on-and-off snow showers (not to mention “Nemo”) provided me with some excellent back drops that matched the mood of the song. Shot in and around Boston, some of the areas I filmed in include Jamaica Plain, Copley, Mass Ave, The Common, Downtown Crossing and The Fens.

When I started assembling the footage to the music I realized that there were some imperfections in the vocal takes. I had this initial inclination to go back and tidy up the track with a better singing performance, but then… I don’t know. I found there was something so vulnerable with the original takes I decided to leave them as-is. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t.

Overall, I was opaquely disappointed with how this turned out. Not to be self-deprecating or self-defeatest, but this could’ve been better. Maybe this is when a team helps one go the distance. In either case, I know the end result is based on my own limitations–but that doesn’t mean I won’t try and beat my previous time.


Please support Running Against Cancer and visit the website for the festival here. Also please follow and RT news from the folks at @RunFilmFest.


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  • Avatar
    Reply Joanna February 21, 2013 at 4:05 am

    I love the pick-up at 2:18, and what happens visually. Very cool to know that the iPhone 4 is capable of capturing such beauty! Nice work, as always!

  • Avatar
    Reply alain February 21, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    100% BADASS.

  • Reply keep running | david the tornado April 18, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    […] weekend my short film Long Distance Runner screened at the Boston Running Film Fest at the Hynes Convention Center. While waiting to enter […]

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