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Desert Runners Film Premiere Set for Edinburgh Film Festival This June

“Desert Runners” is a documentary by film makers Jennifer Steinman, Yael Melamede and Diana Iles Parker. The trio followed four participants through four brutal ultramarathons to get inside the mindset of ultra long distance runners.

The runners in the film take on:

  • The Atacama Desert in Chile
  • The Gobi Desert in China
  • The Sahara in Egypt
  • Antarctica

The first man to complete the 4 Desert Series “Grand Slam” was Dean Karnazes, a well-known ultra-marathon runner.

In contrast, the runners in the film are ordinary people who view the challenge from very different perspectives.

Ricky, is an ex-professional baseball player from the United States. Samantha is a law student from Australia. Dave is an Irish businessman. Tremaine is a British bodyguard who has worked in Iraq. He runs in honor of his wife, who died less than a year ago.

Jennifer Steinman commented:

“This film has been a three-year labour of love, and we are honoured to be premiering in Edinburgh.

“In October of 2009, I went to a conference on health & nutrition where one of the guest speakers was a silly, wacky Irish guy named Dave O’Brien. At this conference, Dave announced to the audience that at the age of 56 he had decided that he was going to attempt to run the 4 Deserts Ultramarathon Series—one of the most difficult endurance challenges in the world.

“I was struck by Dave’s announcement. Just one week earlier, I had been at the hospital with my mother, who had been very ill for several months. Dave was not much younger than my mother, and yet my mom didn’t think she could even walk around the block. What made this guy think he could run 1000km through the desert? I became immediately interested in this difference in perceived limitations that human beings seem to have— how can one person think something like this is totally possible, when most others would perceive it as “impossible?” And are our perceived limitations actually real, or just something that we arbitrarily decide for ourselves?…

“…What I learned out there is that ultimately, whether one finishes or not has very little to do with fitness. The only difference between the people who finished and the people who didn’t finish was that the people who finished always knew that they would. That unwavering belief and commitment to themselves carried those people through extreme pain and every single struggle they faced, until they reached the finish line. I was humbled by their tenacity, and the lessons are applicable to so many things in life– it is about so much more than just running.”

Screenings @ Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013

  • Thursday 20 June 13:00 Cineworld 11 (Press & Industry Screening)
  • World Premiere – Saturday 22 June 14:30 Cineworld 13 (Public Screening)
  • Sunday 23 June 15:30 Cineworld 13 (Public Screening)
  • Friday 28 June 09:20 Cineworld 13 (Press & Industry Screening)

To book tickets, click here.


If you’d like to be in with a chance to win tickets to the 22nd June premiere of Desert Runners, click here to find out more.

Run the Races

To find out more about running the four deserts, click here.

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