Judge Bryan Pope wishes he could say he has the muscles of a 75-year-old after watching this inspiring documentary.
"You always have to end up, somehow, with not clearing something, right? I hated ending up like this, but my body says that's it. Too many jumps already."—Leonore McDaniels
When I tell you that Ms. McDaniels is 75 years old, you might reasonably assume she's speaking metaphorically. She's clearly talking about the strain time places on the body and the way years can weather away the mind, right?
Wrong. These are McDaniels' first words after competing in the high jump competition at the Senior Olympics National Championships, and if you think this is the last we've seen of her, think again. She is one of five women we follow all the way to the World Masters Track and Field Championships in Puerto Rico; five women who are at the center of Racing Against the Clock, a documentary that is touching, inspiring, funny, and thrilling, often all at the same time.
The film was a crowd pleaser when it originally made the rounds at film festivals in Palm Springs, Boston, Newport Beach, Philadelphia, Northampton, and Ft. Lauderdale, and it's not hard to see why. Filmmaker Bill Haney's approach to storytelling is straightforward and wisely devoid of sensationalism. He views his subjects with tremendous admiration, not condescension, and he respects the magnitude of their accomplishments. This is no small feat, since a lesser film might have written the material off as quaint.
Instead, Haney takes his hat off to these women who, in their twilight years, dug deep inside of themselves to find stamina, strength, and determination they never knew they had. In doing so, they learned a precious secret about these gifts: As necessary as they are in the field of competition, they can prove even more crucial in the game of life.
Take Pat Peterson, 77, who defeated cancer three times before qualifying for the World Masters Championships. Or Phil Rashker, 56, who was recently named the fifth top amateur athlete in the United States (Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps is ranked first). Then there's Jacqueline Board, who at 50 is the youngest of the five. She overcame a problem-riddled marriage to raise three sons before channeling her natural strength into sprint races and professional bodybuilding. Margaret Hinton was raised believing women became housewives, teachers, nurses, or secretaries. She never expected to find herself competing in the shotput at age 82.
Racing Against the Clock is a rousing tribute to five women who defied the world's expectations of their gender and ages. More impressively, though, it's a tribute to anyone who finds the confidence and courage to stand wrinkled face to wrinkled face with Father Time and defiantly shout, "I'm not done living yet!"
What an amazing message, and what a terrific movie.
Racing Against the Clock is given a clean, full-screen transfer with Dolby 2.0 stereo audio. The package has no extras or subtitles.
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