Whether you’re looking for some motivation for your next long run, or you’re in the mood for an inspiring story when you can’t get out to train, take a look at our pick of five of the best documentaries about running on Netflix.

1. Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young

This 2014 documentary provides a fascinating insight into what is considered by many to be the hardest ultrarunning event in the world. The Barkley Marathon is a 100-mile course carrying a strict 60-hour time limit which takes place in Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee.

The elevation on the route is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest, twice and since the race began in 1986, only 15 people have finished. The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young explains every fascinating detail about this eccentric event including race creator Gary Cantrell’s secret application process (which is nearly as difficult to overcome as the marathon itself!)

With no official start time for the race, the Barkley Marathon is unlike any event you’ve ever heard of before and this documentary makes for captivating viewing.

2. Karl Meltzer: Made To Be Broken

This Red Bull documentary follows ultrarunner Karl Meltzer’s 2016 attempt to set the speed record for crossing the Appalachian Trail.

Although it was Meltzer who was trying to get his name in the record books, his support team are also given a considerable amount of screen time in the documentary and it’s easy to see that without them and their assistance, his attempt would never have been possible.

The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. In 2016 when this documentary was filmed, Meltzer, nicknamed ‘The Speedgoat’ was on his third attempt at breaking the speed record.

Made To Be Broken gives an insight into just how important this attempt was for Meltzer and offers some stunning scenic shots of the Appalachian Trail along the way.  

3. Gun Runners

Kenya has produced some of the best long distance runners in history and if this documentary is anything to go by, some of the best stories in the sport too.

Through an amnesty programme set up by the Kenyan government, cattle rustlers and tribal warriors were given the chance to swap their guns for a pair of running shoes, which is exactly what childhood friends Robert Matanda and Julius Arile did.

Gun Runners is the product of a decade long filmmaking journey following the lives of Matanda and Arile who attempt to improve the future for themselves and their families through running. This inspirational running documentary is a reminder that running is a saviour for many people around the world.

4. Losers - Episode 5

While the whole of this thrilling series is worth a watch, runners might be particularly interested in the fifth episode ‘Lost In The Desert,’ which chronicles Mauro Prosperi’s unbelievable story.

The Italian ultrarunner survived getting lost during the 1994 Marathon des Sables, a gruelling multi-day endurance race in the Sahara Desert. A sandstorm forced Prosperi dramatically off course, losing his way in the vast Moroccan wilderness. He managed to survive by making some extreme decisions which are detailed in this episode.

Prosperi’s story, like all of the others profiled in this series directed by Mickey Duzyj, is a reminder that defeats are a part of life and something that we can all learn from and use to come back stronger.

5. Budhia Singh - Born To Run

This running movie is based on the incredible true store of Budia Singh. In 2006, Singh made history when he was named the world’s youngest marathon runner after running 65 km from Puri to Bhubaneswar.

Local judo coach Birianch Das took the young prodigy under his wing (eventually adopting him) after he was sold as a young child by his mother. However, controversy surrounded  Das as many, including Child Welfare Officers in India, questioned whether his coaching methods were suitable for someone so young.

Released in 2016, this inspiring sports biopic gives an insight into the boy who was once known as India’s biggest marathon hopeful.