The Mountain Runners
"Bellingham Rated 9th Most Active City in America" by Time Magazine. This recent accolade of our lovely southern neighbour may be due in part to the annual Ski to Sea race, but it all started in 1911! From 1911 to 1913, a legitimately "amazing race" was run just across the US border. Envious of the tourists flocking to Seattle, the civic leaders of fledgling Bellingham devised an elaborate PR stunt: America’s first endurance/adventure race. Offering up $100 to the first runner who could clamber up and down nearby Mount Baker, they attracted 14 contestants consisting of wrestlers, loggers, farmers and miners. Whisked to the base of the mountain by newfangled automobiles and tried-and-true trains, 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.
Buoyed by a folksy charm that belies its diligent research and skillful construction, Todd Warger and Brian Young’s docudrama weaves together fascinating archival material and dramatic recreations in order to bring these eclectic local legends back to life. And any lingering doubts about the significance of their accomplishments are dispelled courtesy of interviews with current top-flight athletes, each of whom can only marvel at their untrained forerunner’s heavily-shod mettle.
"The vintage set pieces—including restored Model Ts and a century-old steam train from Australia—are epic… The vivid, cross-generational perspective that The Mountain Runners brings to life is bound to leave you breathless, inspired and wanting to know more."—Cascadia Weekly