Run Like a Girl is a 2005, 38-minute short film written by Charlotte Richardson (Lettis). I am so thankful that my brother Jim introduced me to this film a couple years ago. You see, back in the 70s, Charlotte Lettis was a premier road runner in New England and the US. We were in many races with her. Until this film I never understood the significance of what she was doing nor what she was experiencing.
This film is the product of her graduate work and fueled by her curiosity about women runners. The film focuses on Camille, a young high school runner (as of the filming), Doris Heritage Brown (60s-70s elite US runner) and Charlotte’s perspectives and experiences in becoming and being runners. From the days when girls were not allowed on track teams to all women’s races their stories are told in succinct clear first person recounts. Doris set an American 440 (you remember, before the 400 was the 440) women’s record in 1960. [In 1960 the 800 meters was the longest race for women and the 1500 was the longest event as of 1972. No lie!] She later went on to win numerous national cross-country titles and finished 5th in the 1968 Olympic 800 in 2:03.9. And you have to hear what happened in her 1972 Olympics. (I won’t ruin the story – get the DVD.) Next time you have a running-related bump in the road (or track) re-watch this.
I think every runner – male or female – should view this flick. It’s a genuinely motivational piece from three women’s viewpoints on running and racing. If you are passionate about your running get this. If you coach a girls track or cross-country team this should be in your video library. Show it every year at your first team meeting.
“Don’t rob the entire experince because you didn’t race the way you wanted to.” – Doris Heritage Brown
“I learned more about myself in losing than in winning… and there is always another race… you can always try again.” – Charlotte Richardson
So, to paraphrase from t-shirts I’ve seen: “Yes they run like girls – try to keep up.”