The Mountain Runners...
From 1911 to 1913, a legitimately "amazing race" was run. Envious of the tourists flocking to Seattle, the civic leaders of fledgling Bellingham devised an elaborate PR stunt: America’s first mountain adventure race. Offering up $100 in gold coins to the first runner who could clamber up and down nearby Mount Baker, a 10,781 foot volcanic, glacial peak!
They attracted 14 contestants consisting of wrestlers, milk inspectors, loggers, farmers and miners. Whisked to the base of the mountain by newfangled automobiles racing a tried-and-true steam train, these amateur athletes had no idea of what they’d just signed up for. And while it may have been prize money that lured them, it was their sense of adventure and pioneer spirit that allowed them to persist.
Narrated by Kevin Tighe (LOST, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Emergency!, Matewan,) The Mountain Runners incorporates hundreds of vintage images, historic footage, graphics, digital effects, and dramatizations starring William B. Davis (X- Files “Smoking Man.”)
Buoyed by a folksy charm that belies its diligent research and skillful construction, Todd Warger and Brian Young’s multiple award-winning docudrama weaves together fascinating archival material and dramatic recreations in order to bring these eclectic local legends back to life.
Any lingering doubts about the significance of their accomplishments are dispelled courtesy of interviews with current top-flight athletes and authors, including recordholding alpine speed-climber Chad Kellogg and climbing author, Steve House, winner of the Boardman Tasker Prize, champion ultrarunner Krissy Moehl, and US speed distance recordholder, Scott Jurek,each of whom can only marvel at their untrained forerunner’s heavily-shod mettle.
It was an amazing race and the story has to be seen to be believed!