Desert Runners film offer for runbritain readers

Desert Runners

The film, Desert Runners, by Jennifer Steinman follows a group of runners as they attempt to complete the most difficult desert ultra-marathon series on earth, pushing their minds and bodies to the limit in an inspiring display of human strength and perseverance.

The film is now available for digital download and on DVD and runbritain readers can use the discount code 'runners' to get 10% off the film at

We were lucky enough to get a quick interview with Jennifer to find out a little bit more about the inspiration behind the film and the story it tells:

Could you tell us what the inspiration for the film was?

In October of 2009, I went to a conference on health & nutrition where one of the guest speakers was a funny, wacky Irish guy named Dave O’Brien.  At this conference, Dave announced to the audience that at the age of 56 he had decided that he was going to attempt to run the 4 Deserts Ultramarathon Series?one of the most difficult endurance challenges in the world. Just one week earlier, I had been at the hospital with my mother, who had been very ill for several months. Dave was not much younger than my mother, and yet my mom didn’t think she could even walk around the block. I thought to my self "What makes this guy think he can run 1000km through the desert?"  I became immediately interested in this huge difference in perceived limitations that human beings seem to have? how can one person
think something is totally possible, when most others would perceive it as “impossible?”  And are our perceived limitations actually real, or just something that we arbitrarily decide for ourselves?  I was really drawn to finding out the answers to these questions, and I think that was my initial draw to the story.  I wanted to understand the mindset of some one who would decide to take on a challenge like this.

Are you a runner yourself?

I am not a runner at all-- and after this, probably never will be-- ha ha! But I am fascinated by the mindset of these athletes and what it takes to complete a herculean challenge like this one. Out in the Desert all barriers are stripped away and people are at their most honest, authentic, vulnerable.  It is brutal and it is beautiful all at the same time. Whether you're a runner or not, I find the lessons I learned from the Desert Runners are applicable to any challenge you want to accomplish in life.

 Could you tell us more about the information and inspiration other runners will get from the film?

I think this film is really about the complex ways human beings deal with universal issues-- taking on goals, pushing through barriers, making hard decisions, building friendships, failure, success, heartbreak, triumph. I think the lessons people take away from DESERT RUNNERS are all about
mental commitment, belief in yourself and sheer determination, and it can apply to anything in life you want to accomplish.  And for people who want more information-- like how to pack a backpack for one of these races or advice on how to train, we have some great extras that come with the DVD or can be downloaded on our website.

Why deserts?

The 4 Desert Series organizers chose these four locations -- The Atacama Desert in Chile, The Gobi in China, The Sahara in Egypt, and Antarctica--because they are (respectively) the driest, the windiest, the hottest and the coldest places on Earth.  Basically, they wanted to make these races as hard as possible!

Can you tell us about the best moment in making the film and the best moment the viewers will see?

I can't really say I had a "best" moment-- it was a series of so many unbelievable things along the course of the year.  It was just me and my cameraman, and we spent a lot of time hiking up sand dunes and hanging out of car windows (him, not me!) to get the shots we needed.  We travelled in 4-wheel drive vehicles that were driven by locals in each country, so sometimes they spoke English and knew where they were going… but usually that was not the case.  And the race course often was not accessible by vehicle, so we were out on foot a lot-- hiking, running, climbing.  We also lived in the same conditions as the runners; sleeping on the desert floor at night, not showering for 7 days at a time, eating freeze dried meals. It was rough and rugged, to say the least. And maybe one of my favorite moments you'll see in the film was on the long day in the Gobi Desert, when we came around a corner and I saw Samantha and Lisa running together and holding hands... it was such a beautiful moment of camaraderie and friendship, and to this day is one of my most favorite scenes in the film.

Have you had any updates from those that took part? How has life been for them since the film?

Oh yes-- we were completely bonded by the end of the year, and we are all still in touch.  In fact, most of us have reunited over the past year on the festival circuit and it has been a really fun excuse to meet up again in different parts of the world.  Life is good for all of them, Samantha has really continued her running career (she's doing a massive expedition through South Africa this year) and the guys are all still running but more focused now on their families and successful careers.  After what we all went through, we will be bonded over this crazy experience for life!

The trailer is available to watch here