Transcend: The Inspiring Story Behind an Elite Kenyan Runner

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Next month, Atlanta runners may have the opportunity to screen a unique movie that examines the amazing life of one of the top marathoners in the world.

You may recognize the name of Wesley Korir. Not only did he win the 2012 Boston Marathon with a time of 2 hours, 12 minutes; he also clocked course records at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the Los Angeles Marathon.

After winning Boston, Korir made a life-changing decision, to leave his elite running career in America behind and return to Kenya to help his community.

Korir’s story is the basis of the film Transcend, which follows his journey as he continues to train for record-breaking marathon times while campaigning for a seat in the Kenyan Parliament.

Nadezda Dhadiala, a local runner, is working to bring an exclusive Transcend viewing to Atlanta. After seeing the film in Chattanooga in November, Dahadiala worked with the Phidippides running store to bring the film to Atlanta on March 3.

Apr.16, 2012 - Wesley Korir of Kenya wins the men's division of the 2012 Boston Marathon in a time of 2:12:40.
Apr.16, 2012 - Wesley Korir of Kenya wins the men's division of the 2012 Boston Marathon in a time of 2:12:40. Hyunah Jang / Boston University News Service)

Dhadiala is an avid marathoner and IRONMAN triathlete, who trains with North Georgia Triathlon Club and the Sandy Springs location of Phidippides. She thinks this is the perfect film to amp up runners before the spring racing season.

“This film is not only about the struggles of simple ways of life in Kenya, though that part cannot be denied,” she says. “It’s about an enhanced vision of the phenomena of Kenyan runners shown from both social and spiritual sides.”

After seeing Transcend, she was inspired to run like a Kenyan, and she believes Atlanta runners will feel the same. The film delves into Korir’s thoughts, feelings, and actions through daily training with his fellow Kenyans.

“Seeing a simple human being doing what he does—unforgettable,” she says.

Courtesy of Transcend

Since its release in October 2014, Transcend has only screened in a two American cities, Chattanooga and Chicago. Atlantans would have a rare opportunity to see the film in theaters for one special night.

The film is scheduled for Tuesday, March 3, at AMC Mansell Crossing 14. Advanced ticket purchase is required, and tickets can be purchased through TUGG. If the film does not sell enough tickets by February 28, it will be canceled.

The cinematography in Transcend is stunning, especially the panoramic shots of the Kenyan desert landscape. You catch a glimpse into the people and culture of Kenya, and its simple way of life. It's an eye-opening experience to see the land where so many of the world’s great marathoners live and train.

As NBC sports commentator says in the films promotional material, “In every marathon I have covered, we’ve tried to explain the Kenyans. This film nails it.”

Courtesy of Transcend

For those outside the Atlanta-area, a special edition of the film is available on Blu-Ray and DVD . The film has already made waves for runners. The filmmakers created a non-profit called Transcend Running Academy, which aims to train a group of 20 young Kenyans in academics, leadership, and of course, running. Korir got his start in running through a scholarship, and this organization hopes to continue to fulfill other Kenyans’ dreams. You can support the cause by donating here .

Besides Korir, you’ll recognize many other endurance running superstars, such as Haile Gebrselassie, Reid Coolsaet, and Alex Hutchinson. It’s fascinating to see the juxtaposition of New Zealand twins Jake and Zane Robertson training with the Kenyans.

Writer Malcolm Gladwell narrates the film, and he seems to offer the same thoughts that runners often feel: “Transcend is a film about a runner that ends up being about so much more: faith, service, and courage. I was riveted.”

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