Walking, Hiking & Trail Running

Run To The Source | A New River Thames Trail Running Documentary From Patagonia

Martin Johnson embarks on his most challenging run yet, one that explores the connection between Black British history and London's most famous river

Run To The Source, a new documentary from our friends at Patagonia, is out now. The film follows the journey of trail runner Martin Johnson (MJ) as he sets about attempting a new fastest known time (FKT) on the 184-mile Thames River Trail. The route goes from the Thames Barrier in South-East London to the source of the river in the Cotswolds, with MJ making the attempt on the 25th of May (the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd).

As both an athlete and a Black British male, Johnson grapples with the physical challenge while also contemplating the history of Black people in Britain. The feat is interspersed in the film with archive footage that contextualises the experience of being Black in Britain over the past century.

Martin Johnson (Patagonia trail run ambassador) says: “Exploring the outdoors is enriching physically, emotionally and socially but history has created inequality and barriers which combine to prevent many people of colour from forming relationships with the outdoors, or even discovering it at all. I hope Run To The Source might prompt viewers to seek out some of the lesser known and shared histories of the lands around us, which have shaped our societies and the layers of privilege which exist within them.”

Matt Kay (Film Director) says: “Martin’s journey embodies a struggle, a movement, a progression. The film does not just focus on the question of whether he will beat the fastest known time, but documents Martin’s discovery process as he finds out about Black British history and how it relates to the outdoors. Through his connection to the river, love of running and hunger for knowledge, we learn why he feels so linked to the outdoors and why, by default, many Black and Brown people feel so alienated from it.”

You can watch Run To the Source online at

Find more about Martin Johnson here: @insearchofmj

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