"Deeply inspiring! Every athletic coach needs to show this movie to her or his team! This is indeed a movie filled with the challenges of “against all odds” and the courageous determination of the human spirit! … We hear often the heart-warming, inspiring stores of impoverished, disenfranchised teenagers who rise to athletic glory, winning against staggering odds, through the dedicated efforts of a coach or mentor who believes in them. The story of Coach Jim Tracy and the students of University High School is a story of a different kind. When Jim signed on as track coach at University high, he faced the challenge of inspiring privileged teenagers who looked on track & field as more of an exercise than a competition. His dedication and belief that they could be winners in their own right, his focus of training tuned to each student’s progress in practice, and his absolute honesty, became that needed inspiration. Under his direction the University girls’ cross country team won 12 league titles, 12 North Coast Section championships and 10 state cross-country championships—the most in California history. In all he would lead University’s boys and girls teams to a combined 34 North Coast Section cross-country titles, the most by any NCS coach in any sport. Stricken by ALS, he coached the last two NCS and state crowns from his wheelchair."
– Maureen Owen, sister of Jim Tracy
"Running for Jim" has a special place in my heart, and it's a film that I would enthusiastically recommend to anyone with an interest in the indominable will of the human spirit.
First, I should mention that this film has a special pull for me. I work in the field of ALS research, and it is that devestating diease that Jim Tracy - the central character in the film - is battling over the course of this compelling documentary. I had the privilege of having met him, and the filmmakers, before the film was public. This is the kind of documentary that the ALS community is grateful for, because it captures so many facets of what this disease is about.
But the film is much more than a film "about ALS" - or even about one man with ALS. It is more than a film "about running" and the determination of championship athletes. "Running for Jim" touches on themes that are broader and deeper, such as the compassion that we are capable of displaying when we genuinely care for one another; or what fierce determination can accomplish when we embrace a purpose greater than ourselves or our own self-interest.
By showing a life, and an illness, in some of its most challenging aspects, "Running for Jim" also captures the human spirit -- of both a person and a community -- at its best. It's an inspiring film.
- Milan M. Karol, Philanthropy Officer
The Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins
A powerful film about the will to finish. In my life, I have met and seen many inspirational people, but very few have had the ability to reach out and change the lives of others the way Jim Tracy has and continues to do. This film takes you into Jim's life, his love of running and coaching and his impossible battle with ALS - Lou Gehrig's disease. Finish with honor. Finish with grace, but above all, finish.
If we are lucky, in our lives we come across a teacher or coach who leads us to a higher place than we ever thought we could get to, a higher place than we even knew existed. Jim Tracy is one of those rare and special birds who can teach you to fly, even if you don’t believe you can. The documentary “Running for Jim” will make you want to go out and do something, dammit, don’t just sit there and dream about it, or put your dreams aside. This film will make you wish you had a Jim Tracy in your life, and in your kid’s life, and it will make you feel better about sports, and humanity. "Running for Jim" is Hollywood beautiful, but it makes Hollywood’s inspirational sports movies, like “Bagger Vance” and “Field of Dreams” seem corny and fake by comparison. This is about REAL pain and fear and death, and about real freedom.
Powerfully moving. Really. I think what will always resonate with me is the irony that, for a few seconds at the end of that fateful race, [Holland] had ALS. That mentor and protégé could end up connecting in such a visceral way at such a fateful moment - wow.
What a phenomenal statement. I was just blown away at the way you told these stories. The layers of the film are both subtle and complex. Though it is about Jim and ALS, it touches many other themes and leaves multiple levels of interpretation.