DVD Review: The Distance: A Triathlete’s Journey

When I ordered my copy of The Distance, I got an email from Rich Ratay, the writer, director and producer of the film thanking me for the purchase. I wrote back saying what a thrill it was to get an email from the films director. Most of the time when you order a DVD it comes from a nameless, faceless distributor like Amazon.com or EnduranceFilms.com. Rich modestly emailed me back and said “I’m not so much a film director as I am a guy who directed a film.” I sent him another quick note saying that ” Francis Ford Coppola is also a ‘guy who directed a film.'”

It was nice to know I was dealing directly with the heart and soul of the vision of this film. Having that little interaction made me feel vested and appreciated even before I watched it. When it arrived there was even a hand written note from Rich. These personal touches made the stories even that more real and not just some docu-drama thrown together to leach cash off of other peoples passions as, sadly, some other DVDs are.

This DVD follows three athletes from three very different backgrounds for a year of training, leading up to Ironman Wisconsin. A mother of three, a college student and a man expecting his first born child are who we follow through the trials and tribulations of what it takes to become an Ironman.

This is a damn good movie. Everyone will like it. It covers familiar topics triathletes can relate with and conveys a touching story line that is not over saturated in techno triathlon babble and will keep the interest of those who don’t have interest in hammering themselves for 140.6miles. Familiar topics to triathletes such as bike fittings, dealing with comfort issues, squeezing a life out of a training schedule, sacrifice in the face of your commitments, failure and frustrations and ultimately accomplishing seemingly impossible goals are all touched upon. These three people are in such different places in their lives it brings a certain comedic aspect to the film: Watching the college student keeping score of an elaborate quarter-bounce drinking game, and living in a frat house environment and then seeing the new father painting a nursery or following the mother to the doctors office to get a cortisone shot… The emotional level of commitment and depth these three families allowed Rich to probe and show in this movie make it a beautiful, real and compelling piece of film work and I recommend it.



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