How has John Kitchin found a way to connect physically to the center of the world and spiritually to the divine? By rollerblading. Sounds crazy, but before you write Kitchin off as certifiable, you should consider that his actual certifications are in neurology and psychiatry. If you’re someone who questions the sanity of daily life on the success treadmill, this film may push you to do what you want — and reap the rich psychic rewards that come with rolling through life.
What’s the most physically challenging thing you’ve taken on? A marathon? A bicycle stage race? Maybe you’ve stood on top of a tall mountain that required days or weeks to scale. Now imagine a human-powered undertaking so ambitious, so vast, that it isn’t measured in hours or days, or even months — but years. This is the extraordinary case of two adventurers: Turkish-American Erden Eruc and Briton Jason Lewis, the only two people to have completed a full circumnavigation of the Earth using only human power — rowing, kayaking, pedaling and hiking a “great circle” that spanned some 40,000 miles around the planet.
Lewis, the first to accomplish this feat, set out from London during the summer of 1994 on a journey that took him the next 15 years to complete. He suffered two broken legs, was nearly devoured by crocodiles and almost drowned at sea before finishing the loop in London in October 2006. The following year, Eruc departed from Bodega Bay, California, on a similar globe-circling mission, traveling every mile solely under his own power. He endured near-fatal bike crashes, severe ocean storms and even the death of his good friend and inspiration (the legendary Swedish adventurer Goran Kropp, who literally passed away in his arms). Five years later, Eruc completed his own circumnavigation when he rode his bike into Bodega Bay and into history.
In an age where so much of what passes for adventure is merely heavily sponsored, made-for-TV action sports — where the meaning of “epic” has been blurred or lost altogether — these two individuals lit out for the horizon with little more than big (some might say crazy) dreams and fit bodies, often toiling away in near-total obscurity. In many ways, their projects carry forward the legacies of Ferdinand Magellan, Steve Fossett and other legendary circumnavigators — with a modern twist: They’ve leveraged their journeys to spread messages of sustainability, stewardship and hope. Lewis and Eruc have redefined what many people believed was possible under human power, thanks largely to ingenuity and sheer imagination. Their stories deserve to be heard and shared.In Person:
We hold ordinary heroes in the highest regard at Mountainfilm, so E.J. Scott should feel at home in Telluride as he fits the description perfectly. Suffering from a degenerative, genetic disease of the retina called choroideremia, Scott is slowly losing his vision. His response is to commit enormous amounts of time, money and, most likely, knee cartilage to raise funds and awareness for a cure by running a dozen marathons in a dozen states in 2012. As he says in the film, confidently directed by Ryan Suffern (who edited 2012 Mountainfilm favorites Bidder 70 and Right to Play), “If you’re trying, you’re making a difference.”