Going Long, Going Hard: DVD Review
Going Long, Going Hard
Released by Stormy Dog Productions
As you get ready to batten down the hatches for the onslaught of the rellies
over Christmas, believe it or not, there are actually some who are suffering
worse conditions during the break.
They are the endurance athletes who take part in Epic Camp - a nationwide
event which runs from the very top of Cape Reinga to the very tip of Bluff over
16 days of the Christmas period.
It's the idea of former world Ironman champion Scott Molina - and this
independently shot and filmed doco follows some of the world's top Ironman
athletes - and average punters as they pit their wits and skills against the
wilds of Aotearoa.
We follow the group of some 22 athletes from all around the world - some are
lawyers, some are professional athletes. But all of them are after something
special offered by the camp experience; whether it's the camaraderie or the
simple effort of completing the 2500 km journey, it's clearly something they'll
never forget - or outsiders will fully understand.
The non-intrusive style of the doco, coupled with some beautifully shot New
Zealand landscape panoramics, encapsulate why some travel from all over the
world to take part.
The doco follows the athletes as they run, bike and swim the programme. With
a pulsing wild drum soundtrack and the dulcet tones of former ONE Sport presenter Geoff
Bryan, Going Long, Going Hard is an intriguing look at the psychology of why -
and how they do it. With highs and inevitable lows (bikes breaking, support
vehicles failing), the piece zips along as it negotiates the punishing
With snippets of interviews of those involved - including the support crew,
you can get (almost) the full experience of being a part of this.
But one minor problem is that with 22 athletes, it's difficult (and nigh on
impossible) to get to know every single one of them because of the doco's 50
minute running time.
And it's because of that, that you feel ever so slightly removed from the
fully intimate nature of this. It's a shame that you maybe don't get to follow
one athlete - amateur or pro - from beginning to end and get their reactions to
really invest in the reasons and psychology of why people push themselves so
There's also an intriguing part which shows the group of relatively tight
athletes splintering and a pack mentality manifesting itself on one athlete-
which to an outsider is interesting but is left a little dangling.
But those are minor niggles in the main doco; and one of them is more than
made up for in the extra features - thanks to footage from the cameras given to
the athletes during the camp. Those extra insights fully flesh out the
characters and their motivations for doing it (and therefore provide you with an
idea of what kind of person does this).
Noticeably accessible to all for a sports doco, and definitely watchable,
Going Long, Going Hard may appeal a little more to the sports fans among you;
but to the casual viewer, it's a tantalising peek into a world many of us may
never feel we may excel in.