No Resting. No Whining. Just Running...
If you thought a 26.2 mile marathon was tough, lace up your running shoes for a journey into the world of ultra-running. Some call them adventure racers, extreme endurance athletes or just plain crazy as they prepare to run a 30 hour, 100 mile race… no stopping, no resting no whining… just running.
Two years ago Zak Wieluns attempted to run the Vermont 100 Endurance Race. He made it to mile 92 before his body gave out. Last year, he was ready to rock but couldn't control an injury to his knee and had to drop at mile 40. Now, he's attempting it again.
So, what's the point?
This documentary film entitled “100: Head/Heart/Feet” will follow the day-to-day life of ultra-runner Zak Wieluns as he trains for, and finally completes what has haunted him for two years: The Vermont 100 Endurance Race, one of the original 100 mile runs in the USA. This year the Vermont 100, which raises funds to benefit the Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports Association, celebrates its 25th anniversary, promising an even more competitive challenge for the 300 dedicated runners who attempt to complete this grueling competition over Vermont’s paved streets, gravel back roads and wooded trails…in daylight and darkness…all within 30 hours. A well-trained few will complete the race; many will never cross the finish line.
The film will chronicle the months of Zak’s preparation before the race, including his day job as a bank financial analyst, relationship with his wife and infant daughter as well as warnings from medical experts that this race could seriously damage his health and future. The audience will experience first-hand and unfiltered, the unique and often peculiar culture surrounding the phenomenon of ultrarunners. More importantly, the viewer will experience “up close and personal,” the punishing race itself.
Cameras will closely follow Zak’s intensive training regiment and its impact on his relationships while we explore the reasons he is singularly dedicated to completing the “100.”
Other ultrarunners will explain what motivates them to take part in this extreme sport and discuss the camaraderie among this special group of people. Crew members and training partners will examine the friendships that motivate their grueling preparation for the race. Physiologists, nutritionists and sport psychology experts will address the extreme health risks and specific training required to compete in ultrarunning.
This film will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the legendary "Vermont 100." The cameras will record all aspects of the grueling race, from the horses that accompany the runners to the stations where runners refuel - to the medical check points and the hospital tents where for many, the race ends. From the base camp to the celebration barbecue, the race’s founders will discuss its history and fans will relate why this extreme event is so fascinating.
Is ultrarunning insane? A challenging sport? Maybe something more personal or even mystical? By the end, we hope to have those questions answered.
In 2002, Zak was asked by his then girlfriend Lenka to go for a run with her. 8 miles later, he could barely walk. Then, in 2003, after moving to Slovakia, Zak started running road marathons and half marathons, mostly to impress Lenka and to keep in the good graces of his soon-to-be father-in-law, a seasoned marathoner himself.
Since then, Zak has run four 50-milers, multiple 50K's, a snowshoe marathon and two failed attempts at the Vermont 100, which continue to haunt him...
MICHAEL MOONEY - Co-Director/Producer
Mooney co-founded Hammer & Saw Films with William Peters in 2009. In his first film, Mooney co-stared and produced the comedy Motel, which received critical acclaim, winning a number of awards at film festivals across the country including Best of the Fest at the Somewhat North of Boston Film Festival as well as the Rochester International Film Festival.
In his sophomore effort with Hammer & Saw Films, Mooney switched gears into a more serious role in the thriller, Exit 7A, which went on to be featured at festival across the United States and winning awards internationally, including the esteemed Filmshift Festival Best of the Fest Award.
Mooney took on his directorial debut in It’s Not Not Safe and the role of Producer in The Checkup. Both of these short films were in association with Windcrossing Productions and were to honor his late professor Don Coonley. The two films were produced and acted by students of Colby-Sawyer College in New London, New Hampshire in honor of Coonley’s legacy.
After completing It’s Not Not Safe and The Checkup, Mooney approached Peters and co-Producer Donna Berghorn about a project he had been thinking about for three years, this project was 100 Head/Heart/Feet, which will be Hammer & Saw Films first feature length film.
WILLIAM PETERS - Co-Director/Cinematographer
A co-founder of Hammer & Saw FIlms, Will wrote and directed Hammer & Saw's first award winning short film, MOTEL, which won the best of fest awards at SNOB film festival (Somewhat North of Boston) and Rochester International Film Festival. Starting in the world of corporate video marketing, he has spent the last 8 years living and working in the Burlington, VT area producing television and online marketing campaigns.
Donna Berghorn - Producer
Donna Berghorn has been a member of the Media Studies faculty at Colby-Sawyer College since 1991. A journalist, radio personality and published poet, she has designed costumes for numerous college and community theatre productions, including Windcrossing Productions' first multimedia theatre show, "Celestial Reckoning." From its beginning in 1991, she served as publication designer and consultant for Windcrossing Productions and took over as executive producer in 2011.
Ben M. Watts - Associate Producer
Ben Watts started working with Mike Mooney on the 2003 theatrical production of "Sexual Perversity in Chicago." He went on to found FM Crew Pictures with Mike Mooney and Thom Neff, who created the online cult serials "Joppa" and "Ware Street." Ben joined up with the Hammer & Saw team in 2009, and starred in their first two award-winning short films, "Motel" and "Exit 7A." By day he works in small business financing, which means you've probably hung up on him at one time or another. He considered himself an avid runner until meeting Zak.
Sarah-Taylor Wieluns - Production Coordinator
Sarah-Taylor moved back East in the fall of 2011 after 8 years in LA in "the biz," 6 of those as Production Accountant on CBS' "Criminal Minds." After leaving LA, she managed the media crew for RAAM (Race Across America cycling event) clear across the continent, and is now happily settled back in New England. Currently the Production Coordinator for Parallax Productions in Boston, she's also joined us at Hammer & Saw Films... S-T has particular insight and devotion to this film, as she's Zak's little sister (and crew-member)!
Risks and challenges
The main challenges for us is the cost associated with traveling to all of our interview subjects, races and filming the Vermont 100 Endurance Race itself. We will come away with hundreds of hours of footage that we will need months to shape into a 90 minute film. So far, we have gone through most of our personal production dollars and are asking for your help to complete this story.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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