Run the Race: Persevering On and Off the Field

From executive producers Tim and Robby Tebow comes a story about two football-playing brothers who find their lives and faith redefined in the face of tragedy and extreme difficulty. Zach Truett (Tanner Stine) is the more physically gifted of the two brothers, running for touchdowns on Friday nights and chasing whatever whims grab his attention the rest of the week, even while doubting that a loving God would allow all of the suffering he's seen. Dave (Evan Hofer) has been beset by a series of seizures since getting knocked off the field, but his faith sustains him and he becomes the anchor for the brothers, who are growing up parentless. But when another layer of suffering lands on the brothers, will Dave's faith be enough to hold them together?

Run the Race has a Friday Night Lights feel, as Peter Berg's use of the H. G. Bissinger expose also focused on a successful running back with an emotionally abusive father. But while the brothers wrestle with Michael Truett's (Kristen Polaha, Where Hope Grows) alcoholism, even as their coach (Mykelti Williamson, Forrest Gump, Fences) tries to intervene, it's the faith-based element of this story that stands tall. This is clearly a faith story but it's one told from the trials of a real world with real loss and gritty struggle. 

The well-traveled Frances Fisher provides a serious grounding as Louise (or "Nana"), joining Pastor Baker (Mario Van Peebles), and Zach's would-be girlfriend Ginger (Kelsey Reinhardt) as voices of faith within the context of the story. None of them are particularly preachy, which makes for a more compelling reality in the stories of the Truett brothers. They have had enough talking, and suffering, and sense of abandonment; people talking at them would be far from helpful. What they need are people who live it out and love them where they are. In one powerful scene, Ginger's family express the importance of faith to Zach, but allow him the grace and space to seek it for himself. 

Writer/producers Jake McEntire and Chris Dowling (Priceless, Where Love Grows, The Remaining) have fashioned a story that balances the beauty of sports with the reality of life and relationships. Without relying too much on on-field footage or failing to connect their sports-based metaphor with the religious context from which it comes, they successfully steer the film on a path that seems both realistic and transcendent, a combination that often echoes our own faith journeys. We the audience want the Truetts to succeed, but we know that success looks different for different people, as they're called according to God's plan. 

Ultimately, Run the Race will make you laugh, cry, and cheer. You'll see your own story echoed in the Truetts, but even better, you'll see God's story echoed there as well.