The Most Awesomely Terrible Triathlon Movie on Netflix

In which we're entirely ungrateful Lifetime backed a movie about Ironman training.

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In which we’re entirely ungrateful Lifetime backed a movie about Ironman training.

Triathlon doesn’t usually make it into TV or film plotlines, but when it does, it’s typically terrible. Take the 10th episode of the Hawaii 5-0 reboot in which armed thieves rob a diamond store while racing a tri. Because running around town in an aero helmet is as inconspicuous as you can get on race day. But that episode pales in comparison to the Lifetime original Netflix is currently serving up, in which one mom’s Kona goal serves as the premise of the entire 1 hour and 34 minute movie. You must watch it. Now. With all of your triathlon friends.

Fair warning, we’re going to spoil it for you in that we’re going to tell you why it’s terrible, a task that generally involves tearing down the major plot points. But we’re not really spoiling anything because the only reason you’re watching this train wreck is to laugh and make a drinking game out of critiquing ‘90s star and lead character Claire Forlani’s form. And every bat-s*** crazy thing her coach says or does.

Run to Me, alternatively known as Running For Her Life, because it needed two titles because why not, opens with a lovely drone swim shot. Then it’s all downhill from there, metaphorically speaking. Cut to a fully-clothed—pants and jacket and all—Claire Forlani pedaling away at 4 watts and 5 mph on the bike course of “The Boston Triathlon,” a Kona qualifier that is presumably an Ironman because where else can you qualify for Kona? But poor Claire Forlani is not going to qualify for Kona. We triathletes already know this because we saw her on the bike and if a slight breeze came through, she’d roll backward.

On the run, somewhere around mile 20, Claire Forlani is bouncing up and down when suddenly she has a stomach cramp. Or a leg cramp. We can’t tell, but Claire Forlani’s face is all twisted up and she stops running and then we cut to her sitting in the trunk of her family’s Volvo XC60. And then she utters the very first line of the movie that will never be the first line of any other movie ever that someone paid to make and it is for all triathletes to savor: “I just can’t believe I bonked.”

From there, we have some unabashedly expository dialogue—“But Claire Forlani! Only two years ago, the doctors said you wouldn’t walk again!” blah blah blah The entire premise of the movie is: Claire Forlani has to qualify for Kona, because don’t we all?

So she seeks the guidance of controversial coach Dr. Laura Stevens whose last high-profile client died in the swim of a triathlon like, yesterday. Dr. Laura Stevens only takes clients who pay $1000 per three-hour session, with a minimum of four sessions per week. But after Claire Forlani pesters her a bit—and gets her school teacher husband’s blessing to keep striving for Kona even though it makes her no fun because she’s too tired for sex and won’t drink any wine—Dr. Laura Stevens knocks her services down to the cutthroat rate of $2K/week.

From then on, in the immortal words of Stefan, this movie has everything: a pissy teenage daughter; a potentially philandering husband (hey, you’re never home because you’re training all the time!); a gorgeous house and car that we cannot figure out how this family affords, especially after Claire Forlani quits her job and her idiot boss to focus on her $8K/month training regimen because SCREW WORK! And most importantly, a murderous coach, because we all know that all coaches, deep down, want to kill their athletes.

Ready to watch yet?

We won’t ruin everything, suffice it to say the ending made us angry enough to pop in a Sufferfest video to vent. Do Dr. Laura Stevens’ insane methods work? Does Claire Forlani survive her foray into hardcore Kona training? Grab a bucket of kettle corn Smart-Pop, a bottle of wine, and your best training buddies and find out for yourself.

If you don’t have 94 minutes to commit to watching this awesomely terrible movie, get a glimpse of the action with the trailer below.

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