Film Friday: Olympic Swimmer Attempts Navy SEAL Test (Andrew)

A Ronseal video – it does exactly what it says on the tin/YouTube link. An Olympic swimmer, a former world record holder, attempts to pass the fitness test to become a Navy SEAL, the US equivalent of the SAS.

While the video is largely filmed at one track and doesn’t feature any rotating drone shots or epic landscapes it does feature one thing you may not have seen before – an entirely new swim stroke. It turns out that the Navy SEALs use a combination of breast stroke and free style to swim in a hybrid stroke that looks like you’re constantly changing your mind about what stoke to use while swimming. Check it out.

Film Friday – The Town That Exists For A Week (Andrew)

Not quite a sporting video this week but one that features a town where everyone cycles rather than drives – and it only exists for one week a year.

This is the town of Black Rock City. If you don’t know Black Rock City it’s a town that exists for just a week each year as an entire community is built for the Burning Man festival. And we’re not just talking about a collection of tents, like at Glastonbury or any other UK festival. This is a proper town with shops, roads, bars and massive sky high works of art.

As the video explains the town is so big that the only way to get around is to use your bike, all of which are modified and decorated like a Mad Max extra.

I don’t know when Burning Man will go ahead again but, if it does, this video provides a fascinating look at the town Burning Man built.

Film Friday: Into The Empty Quarter (Andrew)

Some places are badly named. Greenland is not green, Iceland is filled with rocks and volcanos and DR Congo is not a real doctor. The Empty Quarter, the desert stretching from Oman to Dubai is however very well named – it is almost entirely empty and devoid of, well, anything but dust and rocks. It barely has a hill as it stretches for hundreds of miles of large, featureless and frankly empty terrain.

It may seem strange to recommend a video about two adventurers – Alastair Humphreys and Leon McCarron – attempt to walk from one end to the other unsupported and pulling a large car as there is very little to see. They walk. They pull the cart. They don’t show any scenic sites as there are none. They just keep walking and pulling through miles and miles of desert rocks.

Yet, despite that, it provides a good insight into why some people have the desire to explore even when the rewards are minimal and the only question being asked is “why am I doing this?”

Film Friday: Chris Froome Vlogs (Andrew)

In a world where sporting champions images are carefully controlled and managed by PR advisors and social media managers it would be refreshing to see a genuine sporting great film his own videos while sitting in an empty train carriage on the way home from a race, which is exactly what four time Tour de France champion Chris Froome has done.

Chris Froome joined Israel Start Up nation at the end of 2020 after many successful years at Team Sky/Ineos Grenadiers. Following a horrendous injury in 2019 Chris Froome was looking for a new start and team to support his ambition of competing again for one of cycling Grand Tours. It would have been easy for him to keep a low profile as he returned from injury but, instead, he has posted regular updates on his training and races as he tries to regain his place in the peloton. And what’s refreshing is that while it’s clearly a result of his contractual requirement to promote his new team, it’s also done in a way which appears open and sincere about his challenges as he films himself at training camps, at races or working on equipment or technique.

Film Friday – The Yeti Trail Runners Movie (Iain)

Film Friday is a weekly (when I remember to do it) recommendation of one video to watch this weekend.

The Yeti Trail Runners are the self styled punks of trail and ultrarunning. They are irreverent, slow and have a devotion to community above competition.

This is a great advert for enjoying running and not taking events seriously. It shows how with the right attitude an event can treat the runner who comes last just as well as the one who comes first.

I do have one complaint about the video – it is a bit too long. Which is ironic as punk music is normally very short.