About The Film
I’m Not a Runner is a film about tenacity, strength and the power of learning to trust and enjoy what your body can do. It’s about facing your deepest fears and learning to celebrate your body and overcome doubts about the way you look and about whether you’re good enough. It’s about five brave women who go from their couches in Adelaide, Australia to take on the TCS New York Marathon.
Adventure Time Travel (Adventure Time Films)
33- 43 Port Road, Thebarton SA 5031
I’m Not a Runner is the first film that Adventure Time Films has produced.
My Next Marathon
Ph: 0403 245 380
“This film will remind you anything is possible.” Kelly Roberts
Founder ‘Badass Lady Gang’
“Be prepared to ride the emotional highs, lows and everything in-between with these inspirational women.” Jess Trengrove
Olympic Marathon Runner
“What happens is extraordinary, because when ordinary women run, they become extraordinary.” Kathrine Switzer
Boston Marathon (1967)
Winner NYC Marathon (1974)
Author of Marathon W
DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT – JOHNNY TARANTO
On one level the story arc of ‘I’m Not a Runner’ is quite easy to characterise. ‘A motley crew of naïve amateurs look to take on a huge challenge on a grand stage in the hope of achieving an epic goal. Along the way they encounter obstacles, setbacks, doubts and uncertainty, until they reach a triumphant conclusion’. This narrative is not just the story of ‘I’m Not a Runner’ as seen through the lens; it’s also the story behind the making this film. For me, the title, ‘I’m Not a Runner’ is apt. Before Anna and James approached me to ‘help out’, I was ‘Not a Director’. I knew a little bit about filmmaking but what I certainly didn’t know was that witnessing people challenging their self-perception is a totally captivating experience. What started out as, ‘helping out’, eventually became three unpaid years of my life. Writing, shooting, editing, and everything ‘inbetweening’ to bring this film to life. With no money, no experience, no industry support and no ability to say ‘No’, we just kept putting one-foot in front of the other. Just like our Runners. Now that we have crossed the line, I’ve had to ask Siri, ‘what do you write in a director’s statement’. She suggested waxing lyrical about camera technique, cinematic style, evocative mood creation and emblematic influences. Siri will be most disappointed. We didn’t have the luxury of considering such things. For us, the greatest cinematic challenge was finding focus and remembering to hit the ‘red button’. For all the things we didn’t have, there was one thing we do have. We have Heart. It comes in the form of six strong, open, honest, warm and real women. Their strength in sharing their weaker moments. Their honesty in disclosing their doubts. Their relentless authenticity in allowing themselves to be themselves. This is the beating heart of the film. To be entrusted with their stories was indeed a great privilege. Respecting and doing justice to that trust has been a driving force behind this film from the very beginning. Anna, Namaaralee, Jodie, Marika, Ann and Margaret are in many ways quite ‘ordinary’. Yet they are heroes to the people that know and love them and they are the heroes of this film. It’s my hope that other ‘ordinary’ people come away from this film tempted to challenge what they believe they are capable of, and ‘prove themselves wrong’.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER – ANNA LIPTAK
After watching yet another film about elite athletes who accomplish wonderous feats, far from the reality of the ‘everyday’ person and totally unattainable for 90% of the population, I was left with a feeling of hopelessness. The brilliance of these athletes on screen so outweighed the ordinary persons abilities. The comparisons between both groups so extreme; the film instead of inspiring, deactivated the audience, leaving them with a feeling or worthlessness. I myself have run many marathons but this film was about athletes at another level – not one most people could relate to or even find inspiring as it was too far out of reach, too impossible. I wondered about producing a story about ‘ordinary, everyday people’ achieving extraordinary things. Over the past fifteen years I had been fortunate enough to train hundreds of people in the area of fitness and I have witnessed over and over again how having a goal can change someone’s life. They can not only achieve the goal but transform their whole life. Over the years I had encouraged my fitness clients to DREAM BIG and SET BIG GOALS and they did, many achieving things they never dreamed possible. That year I was taking over sixty of my clients to the TCS New York City Marathon, most had never run a marathon before, some had never even run before. I realised it would be wonderful to track the course of the training and allow others to witness the transformations that would unfold. The film would inspire and motivate, viewers would be able to recognise themselves and relate to the ‘ordinary’ characters in the film. We can all achieve extraordinary things. We can stand up to what society consistently tells us; we are “not good enough, we are too old, too fat, too lazy, not pretty enough. By challenging ourselves, our bodies and our beliefs, and by being brave enough to stand up and face challenges we can revel in our own strength and achieve these extraordinary things. I contacted my friend, a Senior Executive Producer, and told him of my idea – he was in from that moment. The team who signed up to come to the TCS New York Marathon with me, were fully supportive of the project. We were on a mission to show that everyone could achieve wonderful things – you just had to change your story and begin to believe in yourself.
JAMES WAKELIN – EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
For me, this marathon documentary has been more of an ultra-marathon. The documentary concept, old-friend Anna Liptak, mentioned to me way back in 2017 got me, as a runner and journalist, straight away. We thought, let’s tell the story of a group of beginner runners as they attempt to run the world’s biggest marathon. However, like the runners, getting that story to the finish line, at times, felt a long long way away. It’s taken three years since the TCS New York Marathon to get here but telling the beautiful everyday stories of these women just had to happen, taking their stories of courage and vulnerability to challenge themselves in the most extreme way was captivating. Without Anna’s dedication and the tenacity and bloody-mindedness of the man who eventually made it all happen, Johnny Taranto…this documentary never would have happened. Now back to the film…In life, the stories that get me in, and the ones I love, are when people take on a challenge and refuse to yield. And, as a father of three girls, to see these beautiful women stare down their fears and look deep into where their self-doubt comes from has been a privilege. At its heart that’s what this film is to me, it’s about self-empowerment. It’s about having a go at something, even though failure is a very likely outcome and about ultimately changing that story in your head about who you think you are. And just maybe it can do the same for someone else who is watching.
Marika Yacoub was 53 years old when she took on the New York Marathon. She is a police officer and mother of five. When Marika’s husband left her, she had five young children and was working a part-time job. She was at the crossroads. Marika knew she had to make a choice between wallowing in self-pity or getting on with her life. While it was hard, with many ups and downs, she chose the latter. Marika’s road to New York faced financial, mental and significant physical hurdles just to get to the start line – overcoming a full knee construction just 12 months before the race.
Namaaraalee Braun is a proud Aboriginal woman who has three children aged 15, 12, and 9 and has a husband Pete 43. Namaaraalee is an Aboriginal Family Practitioner working in a parenting program in Adelaide supporting first time mothers antenatally and in the months after they’ve had their child. At 37 years old, Namaaraalee realised she had put the last decade into her family and neglected herself. She then made the decision to get up off the couch and get back into exercise, something she had not done in 20 years.
Ann Collins was 53 years’ old at the time of the marathon. Ann turned to exercise at a particularly challenging time in her life, to try and help her deal with depression. Through running she found a supportive community that has introduced her to many new friends and adventures. Having committed to a year of ‘yes’, especially to things outside her comfort zone, when the opportunity to do the TCS New York Marathon arose, initially she said ‘No’, a number of times. When asked a third time, she finally honoured the ‘year of YES!’ and took the leap. She does, however, continue to question the sanity of committing to not only running 42.2km, but the work required to get there. In the final lead up, the long runs also provided a space to process the shock and grief of the sudden death of her beloved niece shortly before the marathon.
At 73, Margaret Liptak is a retired Rehabilitation Councillor. She is a cancer survivor, having battled breast cancer in 2014. She is a mother of four and grandmother to 10 children. Margaret has been going to her daughter’s fitness classes on and off for 10 years. For Margaret it’s an important part of keeping her in a positive frame of mind. Margaret viewed New York as her first and last chance to run a marathon.
Jodie Hamilton at 50 needed a challenge to get her motivation back, and running the TCS New York City Marathon fitted the bill. Jodie is married to Andrew, who joined her in the New York quest. She also has three children who at the time of the marathon were aged 23, 21 and 19. For Jodie, doing a marathon was about doing something for herself and silencing the “self-critical voices” in her head.
Anna is 47 years old and has run her own fitness business, His and Her Time Health and Fitness, for over 15 years in South Australia. Anna started her business as a young mother of two children who wanted to find the right balance between having a career and supporting her children. She is a deep believer is helping people, particularly women, to develop a stronger sense of self, through exercise, often surprising themselves with what they can achieve. Anna has trained hundreds of people to achieve goals that they never dreamed possible, many of whom have gone from 0 to 42.2 in 12 months. (0 to 42.2 in 12). Anna is totally passionate and completely committed to inspiring others to improve their fitness, particularly helping, encouraging and motivating people to change their story, not listen to their inner critic and block their ears to the people who tell them that they can’t. Anna has taken clients all over the world, through her other business, Adventure Time Travel (ATT) to participate in some of the biggest marathons in the world and in this time, she has run over 30 marathons, 50 half marathons and many other running events.
Creative Team & Crew
WRITER, DIRECTOR, SHOOTER & EDITOR
Johnny has worked primarily in television as a producer across range of programming. His speciality is comedy producing where he has had a major influence across a number of highly popular, long running and successful programs. I’m Not a Runner marks his debut as a documentary Director.
Credits / Bio:
- University of Melbourne (Arts)
- Researcher: Interfooty (Seven Network, Australia)
- Producer: Rove Live (Network Ten, Australia)
- Producer: Before the Game (Network Ten, Australia)
- Producer: The Project (Network Ten, Australia)
- Executive Producer: Challenge, Change, Faith (ABCTV/History Channel, Australia)
- Founding Producer: The Front Bar (Seven Network)
James Wakelin is an experienced journalist and content creator from Adelaide. He has worked in newspapers and television for more than 20 years having started at the Adelaide Advertiser in 1997. The 49-year-old has worked for Channel 9 Darwin and Adelaide as well for Channel 10 in Melbourne and Adelaide. James is a passionate storyteller who has covered all facets of news from the Beaconsfield Mine Collapse to the rise and fall of Governments. James has spent the last five years creating news feature programs and stories for Nine News in Adelaide, as well as working as a Chief of Staff and Executive Producer before recently going into full-time Content Creation in the renewables’ sector with the innovative solar company SolarQuotes. The passionate runner jumped at the opportunity to work with Anna Liptak on the I’m Not a Runner project because of the wonderful stories of the women involved and their willingness to be vulnerable in the hope of inspiring others.
Jordan is a full time Video Producer based in Adelaide, his hometown. Always on the lookout to pursue and further his video production skills. Jordan is a keen and passionate traveller / adventurer, taking his camera to the most remote places in Australia and multiple countries around the globe.
David has been the editor a diverse range of projects, both in Adelaide and interstate. From television series (Neighbours, Bony, Beyond 2000, My Restaurant Rules, Croc College, The Lost Tools of Henry Hoke); to documentary (The Cause of Mary MacKillop, Sacred Journey, The Last Whale, Ayen’s Cooking School for African Men, The Love Market, Sons & Mothers, Buckskin). David has edited award winning drama short films (Love from Guy, Moustache), the feature documentary Damn Right I’m a Cowboy(2003) and Sons and Mothers (which premiered at the 2013 Adelaide International Film Festival) and the features A Second Chance and, most recently Touch (world premiere Sydney Film Festival 2014).