Natural highs are hard to come by. Few of us go to the effort of sitting cross-legged and trying to reach a higher-state-of-consciousness when you can sprawl on the sofa and watch trash telly instead: or saunter for a few steps into your local. Truth is, virtuous activities always take more effort than quick-fix vices, and you’ve got to put in a lot of work to get your first hit.
For the third chapter of 26.2 Miles: The Runners’ Story, created with Swiss running brand On and directed by Jon E Price, our entrants realise that the runner’s high is worth the effort. To get you up to speed: Chapter One saw four creatives – Corbin Shaw, Hélène Selam Kleih, Novelist and Jordss – sign-up for the London Marathon. Chapter Two took things up a gear with more intensive training at premium workout centre Barry’s and a look into each runner’s creative spaces. By the end, Jordss was forced to pull out, cutting the team down to three. Just a few frames into this episode, another runner is forced to drop out: but you’ll have to watch to find out who. So, then there were two.
With just 58 days to go until the marathon, the remaining runners put their training into practice, stacking-up stamina to help them reach the homestretch. Powered by On’s cloud-like shoes, they take to the running track, moving from local area to focal arena.
Ruminating on the power of exercise while they run, both runners buzz off the high that training creates.“I didn’t ever think that I’d be able to see the strength of my body,” Hélène says.“And see it [as] being beyond [something] fragile.” For Corbin, hitting the track as part of the running club creates as much euphoria as listening to heavy-hitting tracks in a different kind of club. “I never expected to feel a better high from exercise, without the aid of a drink,” he says.“I’m gaining better highs from running than I would going out to a club.” They’re not totally teetotal though: “One run I did, I actually thought I was still drunk,” Hélène says.“I drank too much tequila.”
Later, talk turns to how they see themselves: are they runners yet? Can they add athlete to their LinkedIn profile?“Being out here on the track today makes me feel like a proper athlete,” Corbin says.“But I’m getting proper imposter syndrome.” Hélène isn’t worried about where she places: she just wants to get over that line.“Even if I come last and I have loads of people in costumes beat me, I’m going to feel pretty pleased with myself.”
It’s this sense of pride without complacency that shows why running is a form of self-love and introspection, jogging memories. “I’m most proud that I went against everything that my parents told me to do in life,” Corbin says.“I just can’t wait to do another thing where I can prove people wrong.” Hélène agrees: “This is really rare and it’s only literally in the past two weeks… but I’m really proud of myself.”
As they know too well, though, the race isn’t over yet; technically it’s not even begun. Even trying to visualise 26.2 miles is proving a challenge.“Right now the marathon seems really huge and daunting,” Hélène says.
Whatever happens though, the euphoria can’t be taken away from them. There’s no psychological comedown to a runner’s high: just the searing pain of delayed onset muscle soreness. “I kind of feel happier than ever,” Corbin says. Heading out the door and going for a run might sometimes feel like a herculean challenge – and training for a marathon even more so – but compared to any sort of quick-fix pleasure, it’s a hell of a lot healthier in the long run.
DIRECTOR Jon E Price CREATIVE DIRECTORS Clara Goodger & Kieren Birtchnall EXEC PRODUCERS Rosanna Gouldman, Adam Lilley & Rose Darkins PRODUCER Scarlett Anderson DOP Jamie Ackroyd STYLIST Hollie Williamson STYLING ASSISTANT Nay Lee EDITOR Leah Burton STORY EDITOR Ellen Evans SOCIAL EDITOR Millie Gray MUSIC COMPOSITION Father GRADE ETC SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER Victoria De Zanche PRODUCTION COMPANY Riffraff