Chris Ward Became A Storyteller In A Long Way From Nowhere

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My guest today will likely be a familiar voice to a few of you because he’s making his third appearance on the podcast today.

Along with being the host of the Like a Bigfoot Podcast, he also added the title of a film director to his CV.

I’m looking forward to going a few easy miles and catching up with Chris Ward.

Chris Ward

One Big Goal At A Time

It has been almost four years since Chris Ward was on the podcast and a lot has happened in that time.

The last two years of his life have been consumed by his new film, A Long Way From Nowhere.

Chris still makes time to run on the trails, but he has had to put racing aside for a bit.

He found that it was nearly impossible to have two big goals at the same time and give them equal effort.

Chris was passionate about his film and committed to putting all his effort into that area.

The last big ultra that Chris raced was the Booneville Backroads Ultra 100k in September 2020.

Chris is from Iowa originally, which is what drew him to this particular race.

The distance scared him, but he had trained well leading up to it.

Chris Ward and His Film Crew

Mom To The Rescue

Leading up to race day, Chris never considered the fact that he could face difficult weather in Iowa.

The day of the race was unexpectedly hot getting up to 96 degrees midday.

Chris had done all of his training in the early morning hours before his kids were awake.

His lack of heat training made him ill-prepared for this type of weather.

The race was two laps and by the second lap, Chris was ready to quit.

While sitting at an aid station, his mom showed up and turned his race around by giving him both support and ice-cold liquids.

Chris was able to rally and finish the last 12 miles.

Race Day Lessons

Even though the race itself was less than ideal, Chris learned a lot of lessons.

In ultra running and in life, don’t put off issues, because they won’t just disappear.

Chris learned that if he didn’t take care of little issues that arose at the moment, then they would often become huge issues later.

He is currently training for his second 100k which will take place in April.

Along with the typical ultra distances, Chris is also drawn to the more unique format of stage races.

The Desert Rats is a stage race that Chris holds close to his heart.

He not only ran the race, but it is the feature of his first documentary as well.

Desert Rats

Desert Rats is a 5 stage trail run that goes from Colorado to Moab, Utah.

The June race takes place in remote areas of the desert and trails.

It is a small event, with only about 20-25 people running it and 10-15 crew members.

The race is frequently a bonding experience for all involved given its intimate nature.

Each participant, regardless of pace, is traversing the same trails and conditions.

At the end of each day, all involved commiserate together.

Chris ran it in 2018 and 2019 and became a part of the community in the process.

During the race is when Chris met Paul, who would eventually be both a close friend and the screenwriter for his film.

An Idea Was Born

At the start of the pandemic, Chris contacted Paul because he always gave wise advice.

Over the course of their conversation, Paul mentioned wanting to do a documentary.

More specifically, he wanted to focus the film on Desert Rats.

Paul suggested that they both go back to the race and film it.

Chris had always enjoyed movies and storytelling and this was his first opportunity to do both.

Neither of them had any idea what steps they had to take, but they began to figure it out as they went along.

The pieces began to come together once they hired the director of photography and randomly encountered an editor.

Everything came together with intention and a lot of hard work.

Be Flexible

The first lesson that Chris and those working on the film learned was that flexibility was a must.

Heading into the film, they generally knew how the race went, but they didn’t know which racers they would feature.

Prior to the start, they interviewed about 12 people that were running the race.

During the event is when Chris and his partners had to figure out which stories were worth following more in-depth.

At the completion of filming, they had about 80 hours of film that they had to cut down to 1 hour.

Deciding what to cut was challenging and it took an entire year till they were all satisfied with the finished product.

Though the process was all-consuming, Chris enjoyed every piece of it.

Every Person Has A Story

To this day, Chris is still friends with a lot of people that were involved in the process.

In the end, they were only able to share the stories of a small group of people.

Chris found it challenging to not share everyone’s story.

Some of the participants stand out in his mind and he wishes he could share it all.

A Long Way From Nowhere is set to be released on the YouTube Channel The Audacious Report.

Chris hopes that runners and adventurers share the movie with others in their lives that may not share their love of the sport.

In sharing the movie, he hopes that they begin to understand what draws people to push their limits.

A Long Way From Nowhere is especially unique because it focuses on regular folks, not elites that are typically the focus of films.

Consistent Steps

Looking ahead to the future, Chris will likely run Desert Rats again at some point.

He also wants to explore more stage races.

The US has a limited amount of stage races, with most of them taking place overseas.

Once his children are older, he hopes to travel more for some of those races.

Currently, Chris is focusing on what he needs to do today to move toward his goals.

He has found that consistent steps taken in a positive direction can lead to big results.

The actions taken don’t need to be big, they just need to be consistent.

Mentioned In This Episode:

Stay connected with Chris Ward by following him on Instagram and/or Twitter.

Chris Ward is sharing the stories of everyday ultra runners in his new film A Long Way From Nowhere. Click To Tweet

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