In 2008, I ran the Chicago Half Marathon and stopped at Mile 6 to film the female leaders as they ran by on the opposite side of the road. Those women were Amanda Domich, Alona Banai and Christina Overbeck, three women I’d seen winning various races throughout the city. I was so impressed with their performances that I sacrificed going for my own PR to film them!
Here is the original video I shot of the 2008 Chicago Half Marathon on my little Canon PowerShot camera. It's a bit long and the part with the female leaders is halfway through the video—apologies for how crappy the quality is; I knew next-to-nothing about video production back then!
Feeling inspired by Amanda, Alona and Christina, I suddenly had the grandiose idea of producing a web series about some of Chicago’s top female distance runners and began interviewing some local women but soon realized that I’d eventually have enough footage for a feature-length film. In February 2010, I put out a call on Facebook for any fast women who thought they had what it took to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Trials to participate in my as-yet untitled film—by that March, I officially began production on “Miles & Trials” at the 2010 Chicago Shamrock Shuffle. Tera Moody won it that year and graciously agreed to let me do a post-race interview with her the next day.
In the ensuing two years, I followed six women as they trained and raced, determined to lower their times to meet the qualifying time standard. I’ve traveled to marathons across the country and met some amazing women (and men) and have made so many new friends! I am truly grateful for and humbled by the support this film has received from you, our fans in the running community. Without your donations of funds and frequent flier miles, I would not have been able to get this far.
On this, the eve of my departure for Houston to film the culmination of “Miles & Trials” at the 2012 Olympic Marathon Team Trials, I am finalizing my production schedule and reflecting back on the generosity of our many supporters, as well as the willingness of Christina Overbeck, Claudia Becque, Amy Haney, Heather Prekop, Jacqui Aubert and Suzanne Ryan to let me follow them around with my camera for two years, as well as that of the many women I’ve met and interviewed who have dreamed big and run fast. My own personal journey through unemployment, a very long job search and learning the craft of video production (without any prior experience) has been a learning experience and a test of my own resolve but the perseverance of our female athletes has really taught me that you can do anything you want to do if you keep your eye on the prize!
The “Miles & Trials” story does not end at the Olympic Trials, though. In the end, it’s not really about qualifying for the Trials at all—it’s about determination and doing what you love to do—and how running can fulfill us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I will continue to follow our women for the next few months and then begin the daunting task of going through two years worth of footage to craft this story. I hope to have our film released this summer but in order to do so, we still need financial assistance for additional filming, as well as the post-production phase which will require my hiring an associate editor, sound designer and the money to produce DVDs, distribute the movie and travel to film festivals (where I hope we will win some awards!)
If you would like to help us complete “Miles & Trials”, please continue supporting this film by donating to our Film Fund through our website. Thank you for supporting women’s distance running and female filmmakers!
Wendy Shulik | WendyCity Productions
producer | editor | runner
producer | editor | runner