Martin Ultra Trailer. Martin is black, black, in a nutshell: those of ethnic origin are still struggling in 2022. Georges Floyd died of suffocation by a white police officer on May 25, 2020. So it will be on May 25, 2021, when Martin Johnson sets the Thames River Trail record: 296km along the Thames, 38H35’46”. In its documentary “Run to the Source”, Patagonia describes its challenge; Humanistic and athletic. By the way, where are we with the inclusion of minorities in the over-endurance?
As an athlete and a black British man, MJ faces this physical challenge while looking at the history of black people in Britain. Their race follows a path that symbolizes the opportunity for people of various ethnic backgrounds living in the city to gain power and explore nature.
- Directed by Matt Kay and produced by Vox of Life Films, releasing February 16, 2022, and It is now streaming on YouTube , Here
- find out more about martin johnson, Here.
Hello Martin, where do you live and what do you do?
MJ: I am currently in Charlton, South East London, where I was born and raised. I’m trying to juggle my work duties, a “run to the source” and a backyard ultra event, a type of predetermined endless race where competitors have to run the same 6.7km loop in less than an hour, Each hour with a fresh start, until there is only one contestant left. I spend my time consulting weather sites in search of better forecasts, as a storm and strong winds currently promise us an interesting race weekend!
How was this film born?
MJ: As I grew up in London, the Thames has always been a part of my life. She continued to play a major role in my pursuit of trail running and ultrarunning: it was on the Thames Path National Trail, after which I ran to work in central London, that developed my passion for running. It was on this Thames track that I had my first ultra marathon, an 80 km run from Oxford to Reading. As my physical abilities developed, I thought to myself that one day I would follow the entirety of this river that I thought I knew so well. Then, in 2020, I became one of the first members of the newly formed Black Trail Runner (BTR) community, a group that works to promote the inclusion, participation, and representation of black people in trail running.
Communities formed during the pandemic, so in-person events were limited and early activities mostly online. During a conversation with BTR co-founder Phil Young, as we discussed ways to motivate and inspire the community to move within restrictions, I mentioned my ambition to walk the Thames Path, and I Made the mistake of adding that there was currently one recognized best season for the mark. We quickly agreed that the river was the ideal metaphor for what we were trying to do with BTR. It is a national footpath that runs through the heart of a metropolis, from the Thames Barrier in Woolwich in south-east London to the hills of the Costwolds in the English countryside, symbolizing the routes we see as communities of colour. encourage. London and other cities have to do with discovering and making for the great outdoors in the UK.
The river itself holds so many deep secrets about a story that is far from the underwater version we were taught, and we came up with the idea that we could use a physical exam to tell that story. Huh. With the support of Patagonia Europe, of which I became an ambassador, we developed this initial idea, and the project became part of the Run to film series. We wanted the film to be directed by a black British filmmaker who also had experience. Some difficulties arose in the film. That research led us to the very talented Matt Kay, who took the original idea and molded it into the movie we see today with a thoughtful and powerful mix of archival footage and songs with racing scenes.
You have already spoken about the need for inclusivity in the outer sphere, and the film focuses on this question. Can you tell us about the current situation, and what path should be taken for this universe to become open and welcoming?
MJ: Here in the UK, many rural areas are perceived as ‘white’, middle class areas. The 2011 census showed that more than 97% of people who are black, Asian or other ethnic minorities live in urban areas. History has created inequalities and barriers that keep people of color from connecting with the great outdoors, or just discovering them. Many people of color feel out of place in nature. Although ethnic data is limited in the scope of trail running competitions, my personal experience, and that of many trail runners of color, being the only person of color at the start of many events, shows that these disparities and barriers exist.
I believe that in order to become an inclusive and welcoming outdoor community, we must first recognize the issues at play, and then ignore the “rules” that govern how the great outdoors can be played. How are they described and who can access them. This may start with better representation in the outside arena, not only at the level of the participants but also at the level of the organisers. Existing brands and organizers need to support and position new communities that want to reach the great outdoors, learn the skills and knowledge to increase the potential for enjoyable experiences. Personally, I urge youth of color from disadvantaged neighborhoods to encourage and facilitate their access.
What would you like the audience to take away from this film?
MJ: I hope this inspires viewers to seek out the lesser-known and shared stories of the lands around us that have shaped our societies and the set of privileges that lie within them. I also hope that this film can inspire all audiences from marginalized sections of society, who may feel unable to explore the great outdoors, or who may feel out of place in open spaces. Rural areas are great to go there, because they are and can provide so many rewarding physical, emotional and social experiences.
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