Some characters seemed destined to put on the wheels when they’re cast into a film, and luckily filmmakers seem able to find actors that can take on those high energy roles. A lot of it is Hollywood magic making it seem like these characters are running for an extended period of time, but in the mind of the viewer it’s easy enough to imagine that these characters do in fact excel at running for long distances and for a decent amount of time, or can at least cover great spans in a very short amount of time. In any case, one has to at least have a comfortable relationship with running to travel more than a few yards at moderate to top speed.
5. Clifford Franklin – The Replacements
Ever seen a wide receiver with hands like a lineman? Meet Clifford Franklin, the one receiver in the world that drops more passes than Jermaine Kearse. Sorry Seattle fans, but Kearse looks like a superstar next to this guy, as he couldn’t catch a meteor if it was about to fall on him. As the movie goes on it’s revealed to be more of a confidence issue than a lack of skill, but a little stickum doesn’t hurt. Once again Seattle fans, apologies from a fellow 12.
4. Will Mays Hayes – Major League
Hayes is about one of the riskiest players in the league and knows he can back it up. The best showing of his running skills comes earlier in the film when he wakes from a dead sleep, realizes he’s not even on the practice field, and then proceeds to catch up and pass two men that have already begun their sprint. Now tell me that isn’t impressive, or believable. Hollywood magic, remember? Still, during the game Willie steps on the gas more than once and shows that he is the speed demon that any ball club would do absolutely anything to sign.
3. Benny the Jet Rodriguez – The Sandlot
Benny is all go, no quit, and would play baseball in his sleep if it were possible. He’s that unique player that loves the game simply because it’s there, and won’t accept anything else as a substitute. When he tries pickling the beast though he discovers a hidden reservoir of greatness that he hadn’t known existed as he runs for his life from the giant beast dog that has been the terror of the sandlot for so long. Anyone that can outrun a dog that size deserves to be on this list for that feat alone.
2. Bobby Barbato – Touch and Go
This film is on the list for one reason and one reason alone, the early morning running scene between Michael Keaton and a fellow jogger that decides to challenge him to a race. It’s impromptu, it’s fun, and it shows Keaton’s strong running skills as he keeps speeding up in an effort to push himself to the absolute limit. Eventually the other jogger gives up and fades off, but Keaton keeps going. Now that’s dedication.
1. Forrest Gump – Forrest Gump
“Sometimes you got to put your past behind you.” This was perhaps the most zen sequence of the entire movie, and one of the most meaningful. You can’t outrun the past, but you can certainly put it where it belongs. Forrest ran a long way for a long time, never stopping to do much more than what nature demanded. By the end of his run he’d seen so much that he’d finally come to a crossroads where he had only one of two decisions to make: keep running, or go home. You can only run so far before you’re right back where you started.
There are a few obvious entries that didn’t make the list, but then these lists aren’t always about the most obvious characters. If they were then they wouldn’t be quite as interesting now would they?