Hi Richard, how did you get involved in this project?
In 2017, just after On become the official shoe and clothing sponsor of the team, I went out there [to Kenya], to direct a short film about the athletes. During that time I started to conduct some interviews with the team.
After I left I couldn’t stop thinking about the athletes and their stories. After a few months I went back and met with On, and I asked if they would consider making a full film about the team.
Why did you call it RUN?
The essence of the film and the main reason it's called RUN, is because these guys and girls have been running since the age of six or seven. Initially, this was because of civil war. They were sent by their parents to seek refuge in Kenya. They ran, relatively on their own, to the refugee camp in Kenya. Then much later, they were recruited by Tegla Loroupe to be part of her unique training camp just outside of Nairobi. They've been at the camp for the last three years.
Overall, it is the story of these athletes coming to terms with big international competitions as well as how to be athletes and find opportunities – all while they continue to just run. That was the common thread I based the film on. And, as it turns out, there were a lot of twists and turns in it that made for a very interesting film.
Absolutely. And filmed over three years and three continents, so quite the journey. How do you feel now that the film is out?
Amazing, given that we didn’t even know how it was going to end three months ago. Three months ago I was ready to board a plane to Doha to attend a big global athlete refugee conference. They were going to finally select the athletes who would attend the Olympics. We were then all put into lockdown and the film took a turn.
But on top of everything we have all been through in the last few months, I feel quite relieved. Emotionally, it was a huge project. I really care about these athletes and I have been through their different stories and lived it with them.
It has been such a great and inspiring project, and I love that we have been able to showcase their stories. They are very unique people and they have a lot to teach us. It is wonderful to give them this platform.