NEWS

UPDATE: Run While You Can teaser

Run While You Can teaser from Run While You Can Film on Vimeo.

©2012 Gaspee Films, LLC.

 

Dear friends,

Exciting news! Many of you have asked when you’re going to get a peek at the work in progress, and until now we’ve been very coy. BUT WE’RE FINALLY READY to share.

In the past few months we’ve been from LA to NYC to MA and back conducting follow-up interviews, and have spent countless hours in the editing room laying the groundwork for Run While You Can: A Documentary Film. Expect more updates this spring as we get closer to finishing!

In the meantime, we’ve put together something for all our supporters - a quick glimpse at what’s to come. Click here to watch. We hope you’ll like it and share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and email – we need all the support we can get!

As ever, thank you. And Happy spring!

Marion

PS - Don't forget to make a $40 tax-deductible donation here, and we'll send you a stylish yet functional RWYC t-shirt!

Your Chance to Donate

Imagine. Your very own Run While You Can t-shirt

 

Greetings RWYC fans,

We've been quiet in the virtual world these past few months, but Marion and I have been working hard behind the scenes.... hibernating is for BEARS!

Marion and editor Alex have just started post-production on the film, and we are eager to share all of our exciting updates with you.

By now, those of you who donated to Kickstarter should be receiving your t-shirts and CDs, and know that those packages were made with love and gratitude for making the film possible. For those of you who still want donate to Run While You Can: A Documentary Film, but didn't get a chance to....well here's your chance!  That's right, if you donate $50 or more, you will receive a Run While You Can t-shirt, designed by the lovely and talented Brooklyn artist Louise Sheldon. These t-shirts are so comfortable and chic you can wear them with everything! Slacks, bicycle shorts, under a tuxedo, I mean EVERYTHING! Plus by donating, you will be supporting the completion of a powerful and inspiring film. But we NEED YOUR HELP to do this! We still have lots of work to do and your support is vital to us.

Go to this link to make a tax-deductible donation, and to receive your very own RWYC t-shirt.

 

Detail

 

The End

October 30, 2011 It's over. Yet somehow, Marion and I find ourselves in the RV, parked at a Best Western in Ashland, Oregon, rolling out our sleeping bags and setting our alarms for 4:30 a.m. Two days earlier, we were at the southern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail at the Mexican border, filming Sam and his mother Lucy walk arm in arm to the finish, which I why I am now incredulous of my current location. How is it possible that, after having replaced our broken down RV in Ashland five weeks earlier, we find ourselves back in the very same spot on our journey where we were so deep in its grasp that the end was not yet fathomable? The answer is brutally simple, we have to return the RV to Portland.

Just that morning we had been in Palm Springs, California, celebrating Sam's triumphant finish, quite literally, next to the sheet metal wall, vigorously guarded by US Border Patrol. As Sam inched closer and closer to the finish, the film crew and a small group of Sam's family and friends anxiously waited for his blonde bun and neon green spandex to come into view. Jon-Michael was in position to film Lucy as Sam met up with her, while Ben stood poised with his camera next to the PCT monument. Additionally, Marion hired Ivan and Jonas Marcinko, friends of Jon-Michael's from Idaho, who have invented remote-controlled helicopters which can carry cameras, producing some AMAZING aerial footage. As we got the word from John that Sam was close, the Marcinko brothers launched the helicopter, following steadily above Sam in the final moments.

Once Sam reached the terminus, hugs, smiles, and plastic cups of champagne were passed around. Eventually the group disbanded, Lucy and Jim to Palm Springs to get the house they rented ready, and the film crew to a nearby motel with free wifi so that we could upload footage to NBC Nightly News' server. Sitting in the RV, waiting for the enormous file to upload, the stress and fatigue that my adrenaline had been keeping at bay, slowly crept in and settled like a thick fog over me. Fighting every urge to fall asleep, we drove the three hours to Palm Springs and rolled into the gorgeous house that the Foxes had rented, looking like tumbleweeds from the desert we had just crossed through. After a shower, some food, and a couple beers, we all crawled into our beds, not to be disturbed until way past daylight. After a sound night's sleep, everyone felt more rested, and ready to celebrate. Lucy, Jim, and Jim's sister Cynthia, made a beautiful dinner, and the heartfelt toasts encouraged the refilling of wine and champagne glasses. Wine at the table turned into tequila in the hot tub, and the rest is up to your imagination. I will say that the cameras stayed firmly packed away in their cases for this duration.

The next morning at 7 a.m., Marion and I woke up, feeling a little groggy (everything in moderation, kids) and drove to LA, where we cleaned out the RV and drove our rickety old friend (whom we sometimes hate) to Portland, literally backtracking the trip we had just completed. We left Ashland by 5 a.m. and returned the RV in Portland, pumped, dumped, and scrubbed by 11 a.m. Minus a few extra L&D expenses, we were finally done! Later on in the airport, I felt as if the weight of the RV had been lifted off my shoulders. The RV, with its faulty generator and wobbly drawers, seemed to house all of my gripes and frustrations of the journey. Yet now that it was no longer in our possession, I felt free to reflect on the last two months of my life.

Although I am still processing everything, in short, it has been crazy, tiring, inspiring, emotional, stressful, and above all, eye-opening. Eye-opening to the absolute majesty and beauty of the West, to the kindness of complete strangers, and the true actions and strength of character that manifests when pretense is long-gone. Eye-opening to my own limitations and capabilities, as well as to the limitations and trials of a man faced with an impossible challenge. This challenge brought John, Eric, Ben, Jeff, Jon-Michael, Marion, and me together, united by Sam and the desire for adventure, challenge, and inspiration, and it is this challenge that has forged camaraderie between us that only we can understand, and that we will forever share.

Looking at the bigger picture, at a campground on the second to last day, Lucy and I discussed a theme that has been an undercurrent of this entire project, which is the unified groups of people around a single man, idea, cause, and adventure. Over the past 61 days, we have interacted with PCT thru-hikers, ultrarunners, filmmakers, those affected by Parkinson's, and friends and family who enjoyed tuning in every day, who share this one thing in common. Each group draws something different from it, but all are passionately involved, and all can take a little responsibility for the shining success of Run While You Can, for donating, emailing, comforting, and just caring. This adventure has been just that, an adventure, that I would not be able to sustain much longer, but for its two-month existence, I will look back fondly on it. But for now, it will be nice not to have to search, in a panic, for the tiny PCT trailhead marking in the middle of the night.

 

Thank you so much to everyone who supported us!

All the best,

Cecily "Crazy Legs" Mauran

We Lost a Window, But We Haven't Lost Our Spirit

October 11, 2011 As we drive north up Hwy 14 for one of our final installments in the Run While You Can encyclopedia, I feel confident and poised. My reactionary nerves are seasoned and honed for whatever upsets may cross our dusty, untraveled path. I can predict what the trailhead will be like (maybe an outhouse, definitely no cell phone service), and what we will need (beer, dinner, a level piece of ground for the RV). We've all gotten better at predicting Sam's ETA ("Well, he started at ___a.m., and he got a pretty good night's sleep, so he'll be moving at ___ mph, so he should be here at around ____p.m."). Those are things I can prepare for, because I have learned what happens when we don't have cell service, or when we can't find the trailhead in the dark, or when we sleep on an incline and roll into each other, or when Sam is early, or late, or at a completely different location. I marvel at how the unpredictable events that have shaped this journey have also shaped us. Our crew has evolved to expect changes, sleep at odd hours, find humor in sinister moments, and just plain make-do. We've finally achieved some sort of rhythm, maybe a jazz rhythm, since it often deviates and meanders from the original sheet music, but by now we have learned to expect the unexpected, and fill in the unknown with knowledge gained from experience, optimism, and lots of b-roll.

The actual view of the Sierras from McDonalds at Lone Pine

We were still driving as the sun went down over the Mojave desert. The desert, like much else on this journey, was unknown to me, and the RV swayed as Marion (at the wheel) and I craned our necks over the arid and solitary expanse. We New England girls had never in person seen a landscape so epic, and the sterile rocks and dust were both enticing and terrifying. Now nighttime, we turned onto a winding road that took us to the PCT trailhead, where we performed the usual ritual of immediate cocktail hour, followed by cooking dinner, and finally, eating, all to the soundtrack of someone's iPod. We were happy to see each other after our week apart, and I felt as if we'd never left. The same old mixed feelings about the RV returned, but those worn-in sentiments were a comfort in and of themselves.

Sam and Mount Whitney in the upper left-hand corner

Contoured rocks in the Alabama Hills

It was getting late, and we were still waiting for Sam and the Support Team to show up. I settled in to an episode of Arrested Development, but began to wonder where they could be. Finally, Marion drove to find cell phone reception to check for any messages, and sure enough, she discovered that Sam, John, and Eric had decided to stay put for the night. Maybe earlier in the trip, we'd have been irritated not to receive this message earlier, but now we just laughed and shrugged and planned to meet up with them in the morning. As everyone got ready to go to sleep Ben tried to pull the side window shut, whereupon it spontaneously shattered. Again, there was nothing to do but laugh and sweep up the pieces. Of all the things that could go wrong that was nothing. Silly me, I thought I was conditioned for such surprises, but maybe it's that I am conditioned in my reaction instead, because you can never really predict a window to shatter.

Fragments of glass still in the window

The next day, we reunited with John, Eric, and Sam in a scenic McDonalds parking lot in Lone Pine, CA. Sam had taken the previous day to rest after the summit of Mt. Whitney, so he was well rested and willing to give us an extensive interview. While we waited for Sam to nap and take advantage of our convenient location by loading up on quarter pounders, a chicken sandwich, and a cherry pie, Marion, Ben, Jeff, and Jon-Michael took Marion's car - a welcome addition to our caravan - to the Alabama Hills to scout out a location. The smooth, contoured rocks of the Hills, which famously provided a backdrop to many of the beloved spaghetti western films, (as well as Gladiator and Tremors,) presented a stark contrast to Mount Whitney and the rest of the Sierras behind them. It was a fitting place to film Sam as the terrain on the PCT transforms from rugged peaks to earthy desert, and Sam seemed like a suitable addition to the storys of cowboys, gunfights, and epic adventures that the hills possessed.

Alabama Hills

"That's gonna leave a mark"

Well-rested and relaxed, Sam obliged us with an in-depth recap, allowing us to ask those difficult questions he would otherwise be too tired to answer. The interview manifested itself as an easy dialogue facilitated by Marion's empathy and patience and Sam's openness. He talked extensively about his motivations for Run While You Can, his mom, and the reaction of members of the PCT community to his highly-publicized endeavor. After several hours in the hot sun, Marion wrapped up the interview and we hopped in the RV back to base-camp at McDonald's. Marion purchased a sheet of plastic as a temporary and slightly degrading replacement for our window, and we rode off into the sunset towards the trailhead, where we had spent the night before, and where Sam would return to the PCT. 24 hours later, we found ourselves in the same place, minus one window, plus one interview, and several sunburns. Pleased with the success of day, the five of us toasted, the beers cans and plastic cups of wine making a dull clink as they collided. Although our RV may look like the car from Tommy Boy, and we're all a little dirty and sunburnt, we're definitely doing something right.

 

Yours truly,

Cecily "Crazy Legs" Mauran

The Oregon Trail

September 15, 2011 After a brief whirlwind trip back to Los Angeles for a few days, we are now back on the trail, the Oregon Trail!  Like our ancestors before us (except for mine who stayed firmly put in New England, close to the boat), who bravely packed their possessions, acquired a covered wagon, and ventured across our majestic country stopping along the way to hunt buffalo, and caulk their wagon across many rivers in their path (never ford the river, it’s always too deep!) Yes, like our brave predecessors, we packed up our hard drives, computers, and plenty of extra underwear, rented an RV, stocked up at Wal-Mart, and made our way to the magical land of Oregon.

Pumice Desert

We spent our first night spent restlessly at a Motel 6, complete with not one, but two room services orders. Needless to say, our crew was anxious to get to the trail, meet up with John and Eric, and catch up on what we had missed in the past week. Turns out, due to forest fires, Sam had to take several detours from the PCT, which often meant he had to run along the road. Obviously, this had not been a scenic route and we were all looking forward to the portion that wraps around Crater Lake, which Sam would tackle the next day. Several beers later that night, we all admitted that we had missed each other dearly, and our film crew was happy to be back under the shade of the Itasca’s pullout awning.

Always prepared, they even sleep like this

 

Sam finally gets to enjoy a foot bath

 

The infamous feet

 

The next day at Crater Lake, we drove ahead in our RV to scout out optimal shooting locations, marveling at the natural gem. Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the U.S., was once a volcano that imploded. The volcano, which collapsed in on itself, carved out this deep body of water, its expansiveness only exaggerated by 500 feet of cliffs surrounding it. The day we were there, the lake, a rich blue, was completely smooth, and perfectly mirrored white fluffy clouds overhead. After taking many pictures, that won’t do it justice, we found a spot along the trail that would yield the best results, and sat down to wait for the inevitable Sam.

Crater Lake

 

Cliffs

 

Don't look down

For some reason, the next few hours of waiting have become the most surreal part of this adventure so far. It was the combination of sitting in folding chairs in an arid and dusty field, camera and walkie-talkie in each hand, the smoke of the Oregon wildfires billowing in the distance, and the presence of the prehistoric and unfathomable lake behind me, that induced deep reflection on the string of events that led me to this field, and my role as a cog working for Sam the steam engine.

Das crew

 

Eric takes in the view

Wildfires a-blazin'

Sam arrived around 4 p.m., along with Chloe, joining him on this stretch, and we were able to capture shot after shot of him winding around the lake. Ben even managed to balance his camera on the window of our RV, as I drove slowly alongside Sam, trying to ignore the honks of angry tourist cars behind us.  We filmed Sam and Chloe arriving at the end of the Crater Lake portion, and noted the drastic physical and mental haze that had settled around Sam. Earlier that day, we had woken up and walked onto the PCT trail to anticipate Sam’s arrival. Chloe, who had driven through the night and arrived a 4 that morning, ran ahead to meet him. After a few minutes of waiting, cameras poised, two beautiful blonds emerged from the trees, bouncing and happy. Sam looked straight at our camera and did a little heel click as he went by, as if he was Charlie who had just found the golden ticket.

Sam and Chloe arrive, with the wildfire in the distance

Yet now, Sam walked towards us, shoulders slumped and head down, barely able to carry a conversation, let alone his light daypack. Fatigue had crept in, and even penetrated Sam’s mental state. I think we all felt relieved to know that he was almost done for the day.

Doin' work

 

A picture taken by Bigfoot

As always, hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst, we said our goodbyes and drove to the next trailhead where we would hike in and meet Sam on Devil’s Peak, allowing ample time to wait, in case Sam hit the snooze button a few times. As we drove away, Shakira blasting and eager to enjoy our beer and stir fry, I looked back at the color of the red sky, a result of the wildfire that had now faded into a cloud on the horizon.

 

Until next time,

Cecily "Crazy Legs" Mauran