Run the Race, rated PG
Run the Race is a sports-themed faith-based film, for which Tim Tebow and his brother Robby served as executive producers. The brothers appear briefly in the film. The film is directed by Chris Dowling (Priceless), who wrote the film with Jake McEntire and Jason Baumgardner (Samson).
Dave Truett, played by Evan Hofer and his brother Zach, played by Tanner Stine (Indivisible), are high school seniors in Bessemer, Florida. Their mother died from cancer two years ago. After that, their father Mike played by Kristoffer Polaha (Get Shorty, Castle) abandoned the boys and turned to alcohol to deal with his pain. The boys are very close and deeply care for each other. They live alone in a rundown home in their depressed town, but are cared for by their godmother Nanny, played by Frances Fischer (Unforgiven, Titanic).
Dave is recovering from a bad football injury, though still experiencing occasional seizures, and is a strong Christian. We see him going to church on a few occasions, where Mario Van Peebles (Heartbreak Ridge), portrays Pastor Baker.
Zach is a popular and good-looking All-State running back on the football team. He is hoping for a college scholarship to the University of Florida (where Tim Tebow won the Heisman Trophy and was a two-time national champion), and take Dave with him to get out of Bessemer. Former Tennessee Titans star Eddie George plays a small role as a recruiter from the University of Florida.
The boys work at Nanny’s grocery store. But when Zach suffers a bad knee injury (torn ACL) in a fight with members of a rival team, his dreams of playing college football are dashed. While in the hospital after the injury, he runs into a nurse intern named Ginger, played by Kelsey Reinhardt, who he had flirted with a few days earlier. Ginger is a believer as are her parents. She assumes that Zach is also a Christian because he knows the Bible verse she has on her bracelet.
With such adversity in their lives, how will the boys handle life and their future? Can they ever forgive their father? Should Ginger continue to date Zach, even though she finds out he’s not a believer?
Though Zach’s football dreams are finished, Dave has another idea on how they can get a scholarship and leave Bessemer behind. Coach Hailey, the boy’s likeable football coach, who also coaches the track team, played by Mykelti Williamson (Justified, Forrest Gump, Fences) looks out for the boys and helps them. (Side note: we love Mykelti’s Street-smart but evil character, Mr. Limehouse, in Justified).
The film is well made, a step above most faith-based films. The acting is solid, aided by veterans Williamson, Fischer and Peebles while Stine and Hofer also play their roles well. The film’s soundtrack includes music from Christian artists such as NEEDTOBREATHE, Andy Mineo, Lecrae and Derek Minor.
Themes include family, dreams, forgiveness and reconciliation. Content concerns include some drinking and violence.
Run the Race is a well-made faith-based film with good messages, but tried to pull on your emotional heartstrings a bit too much.