By Sue Ellen Woodcock
Boston and running go hand in hand. The city is synonymous with the marathon and it has been doing so for the last 120 years.
Now award winning filmmaker and marathoner Jon Dunham, know for his “Spirit of the Marathon” documentaries, chronicles the worlds greatest marathon.
“Boston: An American Running Story,” with narration from actor Matt Damon, has its world premiere on April 15 at 8 p.m. in the Boch Center Wang Theatre. On April 19 the film will be shown at 500 theaters including Revere’s Showcase Cinema.
The story begins with the iconic Jimmy Kelly in black and white footage of the day. In the early days of the Marathon young men ran in an almost militarist style. By 1946 when Stelios Kyriakides won the race he became elevated to the legend of a Greek god.
Executive Producer and author Tom Derderian, of Winthrop, supplied this non-fiction feature length documentary with much information from his book, “Boston Marathon: A Year by Year Description of one of the World’s Premier Running Events.”
Now in its third edition, the book is widely available.
“It came out in March and covers the last 20 years of the Marathon,” Derderian said. The first edition came out in 1995.
“I hate that the bombing has to be in the movie,” he said.
He explained that at first the director wanted to base the movie on the Chicago Marathon, a race considered second to Boston. Derderian talked him out of it.
“The work on the movie began three years ago,” Derderian said.
Part of the project includes working with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on the amazing score with 80 of the best musicians around.
“The BSO partners in telling the story and will perform at the premiere.
Derderian has run the Marathon himself 14 times. The first time he ran he was 18 and the last time he ran was in 1986. The first time he ran the course in 2 hours 19 minutes. He made it to the Olympic Trials and was New England champion.
The movie has strong supporters with John Hancock Financial, the Martin Richard Foundation (a portion is every ticket sale will go to Martin’s Park), Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
“The Boston Marathon is like no other event in the world, and to have its history captured through this type of exclusive documentary is extraordinary.