– Jenna Anthony, ESPN Films, on distance runner
espnW’s short film series, Run Mama Run – in which Sarah Brown, an elite track athlete who makes the extraordinary decision to train for the 2016 Olympic Trials through an unexpected pregnancy – concludes this week with the fifth and final episode from the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.
Run Mama Run follows Brown as she trains through her third trimester, gives birth and has only 16 weeks postpartum to prepare for the Olympic Trials. As Sarah and her husband/coach Darren explore uncharted territory, they deal with everything from some controversy over her decisions to an unforeseen injury.
ESPN Films’ Jenna Anthony, manager of development and production, worked closely with espnW and director Daniele Anastasion. Anthony spoke with Front Row about the project:
Why do a series, rather than a feature-length film?
Sarah’s narrative organically fits in segmented milestones – prenatal, birth, postpartum, and the Olympic Trials, and distributing as an episodic digital series was the ideal rollout within the espnW environment.
Over how long a time period did the filming and production take place?
Daniele and the team filmed over a [period] of six months, beginning in February and concluding this July with Sarah’s performance at the 2016 Olympic Track and Field Trials in Oregon. Throughout that time, they brilliantly captured the essence of Sarah and Darren’s journey.
Why does Sarah’s story resonate so much?
Sarah’s story embodies the expression “Can you have it all?” The conflict she encounters at the crossroads of continued career growth and impending motherhood is one many women can relate to. But why choose? Her millennial mindset to pursue both in tandem was met with some criticism but is a truly inspiring act of perseverance. At its core, Run Mama Run is a beautiful story of love and family.