"A Long Run" is a full-length documentary movie in the making. The story follows Bob Anderson, founder of Runner's World, as he celebrates 50 years of running by racing 50 races in 2012. His goal is to average under 7 minutes per mile for at least 350 miles. "The challenge itself is not that amazing. However, to race 5k to the half marathon each weekend at an average pace of under 7 minutes per mile makes it more of a challenge. Equally challening is that 64-year-old Bob Anderson works full time as the CEO and chief photographer of the Ujena Swimwear Company he founded in 1984," says director Michael Anderson.
The Challenge Bob is Attempting:
During 2012 Bob is racing 350 miles for 50 races between 5k
and the half marathon. His goal is to average under 7
min/mile. This is like someone 30 averaging 5:25.
Bob Anderson started running in Feb 1962 and ran his first race in May 1962. Within a year he ran a 2:08.5 half mile. At age 17 Bob started Runner's World magazine and published it for 18 years. He and his team had built the circulation to just under 500,000 before selling it to Rodale Press in 1984. With just $100 he earned from babysitting and mowing lawns he built a $25 million dollar company without borrowing any money or having outside investors.
While publishing Runner's World he did not run as much as he wanted too. His nearly 350 employees took up a lot of time and he mostly ran on weekends. He had started his magazine because he loved running! But his magazine really help spring the running boom. He was able to concentate on his own running after the sale. At age 53 he ran the Cal Ten in 59:17 and more recently at age 61 he ran 1:26:26 for the half marathon. He has published over 50 books about running and is currently interviewing runners for his UjENA FIT Club "Interviews with 100 Interesting People" feature. Many of these people will be futured in our film "A Long Run." He started the UjENA FIT Club in August, 2011 and added Best Road Races in December. He feels both are going to help inspire and inform a lot of people about running and fitness.
"We have already faced some tough challenges in the first weeks of this venture. Two weeks before the start, I tripped on a run and it took over 60 stitches by a plastic surgeon to sew me up. The scar above my right eye will never let me forget that moment," says Bob Anderson. "But actually from a running stand point my beat up knee caused the most problems. I could not totally bend it fully for weeks."
"Bob's first race of fifty was New Years Day just two weeks after the fall. He could not hardly bend his leg but he knew that he needed to complete race number one. A 5k race put on by the DSE Club in San Francisco. I have never seen Bob start out so slowly. He was dragging his leg," says Catherine Cross, Bob's wife and co-producer of the movie.
(Left) Adding to the challenge is that Bob works full time as the CEO of the Ujena swimwear company. He is also Ujena's chief photographer. Before racing the Bob Anderson 15k Challenge March 3rd, he had taken over 27,000 images of Ujena swimwear over five days. Photo by Steve Manente for Ujena Fit Club.
The focus of the film is on Bob and his journey but it is also about runners he knows or well meet along the way. "Our goal is to make a running film that will inspire you to get out the door. Inspire you to be a better runner. Inspire you to get others out on the road. If you start lacing up your running shoes after watching our film, then we produced the film we wanted," says director Michael Anderson, Bob's son and runner.
"I know my dad can pull this off. When he puts his mind to something he makes it works. Running has always been something our family does. I started running at the weekly Fun Runs my dad started in 1972. I have seen photos of me in my father's arms as he was giving out certificates to finishers. He has so many stories to tell. He knows so much about running. I an excied to be part of a "A Long Run," says daughter Lisa Anderson-Wall.
"I only started running a few years ago. I damaged my knee playing professional soccer and I thought I could not run. But how could I be married to Lisa and be the father of Bob's grandkids and not be a runner. I gave it a try and could not run a mile at first. But I stayed with it and it worked. I not only love running but also racing. I have already run two half marathons, my best being 1:27. Bob knows so much about running and I am looking forward in being a part of "A Long Run," says son-in-law Justin Wall.
(Left) The family getting ready for Bob's 64th birthday run. Bob trying to get his knee to bend. In red is Justin, Lisa and Michael. Justin and Bob ended up running and walking 11 miles but not totally by design. This was a hard run. My knee was bothering me the whole way...
Filming started December 28 on Bob's birthday run with his family in San Francisco. "What better way to celebrate your 64th birthday by running with your family. That's what we did...bum knee and all. It was a beautiful morning to run along the SF Bay," says Bob Anderson.
Filming will continue at all of the 50 races during 2012 plus additional footage will be shot during the week. Many runners along the way will be included in this film. We have put together a race map and we hope to see you at one of these races. We will be adding additional races as plans are finalized.
We are planning on finishing the film by April, 2013. Join us on our adventure.
"A Long Run" is an Around Town Productions film with funding from the Ujena company. We are looking for additional sponsors. If you would like to be part of this production, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Bob Anderson, Catherine Cross or Michael Anderson on the "A Long Run" hotline 650-600-6643. Or write A Long Run, 1931A Old Middlefield Way, Mountain View, CA 94043
(Left) "There are so many great spots in this world to run. There is no better place than on the pier near where the Cable Cars turn around in San Francisco," says Bob. The day before the Waterfront 5k, the "A Long Run" film crew covered Bob's final training run before the race. He was testing out his hamstring to make sure he would be able to finish the next day. Photo by Catherine Cross
(Right - Bob and Catherine shooting in San Francisco)
Behind the Scenes link: A Long Run Diaries
Link to Bob's 50 Races: Race Map