Saturday, July 18th in San Francisco, California at the Giants stadium was the first time I met Amber and Scott Keneally. I was sitting in the stands waiting for a friend to finish racing and I saw Scott running through the course lining up his next shot as Amber and her friends were about to cross the finish line. The next day a friend and I drove out to the Keneally home talk about “Rise of the Sufferfests.”
Their home sits amongst the vines of a family vineyard and sculptures line the paths amidst the woods and trails in the surrounding hills. This is the same area in which they wed five years ago. A DJ in a dump truck and the vows recited in the front yard of the man who is the creator of the sculptures. It sounds absurd, but it is an absolutely beautiful setting.
“Rise of the Sufferfests“ has been floating around the obstacle racing world for some time now. It seems like it has been a part of the obstacle racing world since its inception. The anticipation of its release and what it will entail has long kept us intrigued. For a while, it felt like it wouldn’t happen and there was a worry that what was put together was going to be quickly outdated; given how quickly the sport develops and changes. Was it going to be an old school remembrance of what was? Which is funny, because what once was…was only a few years ago.
Scott Keneally’s first desire in making Rise of the Sufferfests was to tell the story of Mr. Mouse. Over the past three years, the film has taken on a whole new meaning and has become a documentary about the psychological aspects of obstacle racing. Why do people flock to the outskirts of towns to drown themselves in the mud? What does this mean about our society today and what we have steered ourselves away from for the past few generations? Is our true animalistic nature not being fed enough? These are just the tip of the iceberg, much more will be addressed, questioned and visited.
The afternoon in which I visited the Keneally home, I walked into a house filled with a family enjoying their Sunday as any other family would. The doors open wide to let the fresh air in, their young son waking up from a nap, and their friend who has helped film the movie for the past few years just leaving. Scott gave me the privilege of seeing the unreleased and not yet approved trailer of the film, upon arrival. I couldn’t have been more excited to watch it!
The film is in the final editing stages right now as I am typing this. The applications for all the film festivals are being submitted and the release date will soon be set. Once the film airs in a festival, if chosen, they will then hit the road and bring the film to a possible ten cities across the nation to view in random remote places that only obstacle racers would desire to watch a film. Be ready to be intrigued, enlightened, have deep philosophical conversations about the state of our culture about how obstacle racing has tapped into our screaming desire to be closer to nature.