Eric Sense(less)man & His Cocodona 250 Journey by Dylan Harris | Friday Films

If there is only one ultrarunning documentary you’re gonna watch in your lifetime, this one by Dylan Harris would be a fine choice for that one-of.

Here is a story of human perserverance in one of its simplest forms. Keep going even when you think you can’t. Lose yourself to find your limits, then go beyond, senseless, to find a new, truer version of you.

“This film contains so much artistry, thoughtfulness and fine-tuned story-telling. It is exquisite. I can only imagine the amount of editing that went into this. Incredible job, Dylan Harris. And thank you to the one-of-a-kind Eric Senseman for allowing this journey to be shared. Beautiful,” wrote Jec Ballou. And he is right.

This is a story of Eric Senseman’s 2022 Cocodona 250 race. While Joe “Stringbean” McConaughy was the first to cross the finish line that year, Senseman embraced his own reasons for ever starting to run: “… I became engrossed with running, in part, because it made me feel like a kid,” he wrote in his piece for the rabbit blog. It’s beautiful to see him cover the miles with an attitude like no other—and it must have been even more inspiring to witness this in person.

“… what really stuck out to me was the relationship between Eric and his wife! I’ve seen so many other runners sort of blow off their partner at aid points, but even when he’s hurting so bad he always gives her a hug and a kiss before taking off again,” wrote Emma Happy.

Watch Senseman’s journey in this film by Dylan Harris.

Into the Well: A Gnarly Way to Get to Know the Raw Beauty of New River Gorge National Park

Into The Well: 100 Miles. 32 Hours. 200 Racers. is an outdoor adventure documentary feature film telling the story of personal endurance. An excruciating test of how far one is willing to push themself to accomplish their goals. Follow three West Virginians as they prepare for the first 100-mile ultramarathon in the New River Gorge National Park where they’ll take on a challenge far greater than they could ever have imagined.” (The Folkway)

To be honest, I went into this documentary slightly worried. Not only is it the length of a full-feature film; the first few seconds of anxiety-inducing music didn’t alleviate the tension. On the other hand, it did capture perfectly how it feels at the start of such an endeavor. It’s not like people die from DNF-ing (DNF = did not finish) challenges like this (not usually, anyway) but they still make the heart race, at least a little bit.

To worry I did need not. Yes, the documentary is the length of a full-feature film but it’s also of similar quality—in fact, it’s better than some of the films I’ve seen in my lifetime. It pulled me in quickly and didn’t let go; just like a race you have to keep coming back to until you finish it.

Rim to River 100 is an ultramarathon in the New River Gorge National Park. It takes its runners on an out-and-back journey up and down and down and up from the rim of the Gorge to down along the banks of the New River and promises winding single track and a few, shall we say, gorgeously gnarly sections.

“Along with the natural beauty of waterfalls, whitewater, & dramatic views, you’ll also find ghost towns, centuries-old cemeteries, & abandoned mine shafts throughout the course,” reads the official description on the Rim to River 100 website.

Intrigued yet? Or worried, just like I was? Well, I won’t write much more and, instead, let the documentary do its thing. Let the raw beauty of this challenging trail pull you in just like it did with me. Warning: this process apparently includes “shoes filled with blood,” as HollyAnn informs you within the first few moments of your own emotional journey.