Those who enjoyed Michael Mann’s movie The Last of the Mohicans likely don’t know about a great made for TV movie called The Jericho Mile. As an impressionable, young man and a distance runner this 1979 movie had quite the effect on me. In short the movie is about a prisoner named “Rain” Murphy who is stuck in Folsom Prison for life on a first-degree murder charge. He prefers to be alone and spends much of his time running around the facility’s track. When he begins reaching a mile in under four minutes, he gains the attention of the jail’s officials, who consider entering him into the Olympics via the trials. The movie is very good and has early markings of Mann’s developing genius. There are gang fights, a love story, friendship, fights against the system etc. Murphy and his friend named Stiles do hard prison time. Stiles plasters picture of his wife and son across his cell wall to help him cope. Murphy on the other hand lives under Spartan conditions. Except for a sink pipe that he regularly unscrews to turn into a pull up bar there is nothing to get him through but running. While gangs are killing and raping each other in prison Murphy stays outside the frays and focuses on his goal of running in the Olympic trials. A wild and emotional man can be surrounded by a thousand men and could feel alone while solitude and discipline might have the opposite effect and make him feel connected to the world. Running and structure can do something to men who feel disconnected from their brethren even as they run alone. And while in the dark of his cell or room where he is naked and alone, his ears prick up to the sounds no one else can hear and they are like electric fire into his soul. He hears the whirling of the stars and feels a connection to the universe. His eyes focus through the dark and keys in on his goals. He visualizes success because he can still visualize a tomorrow, a new beginning. The walls come tumbling down. Men are responsible for their own freedom. “Through discipline comes freedom.”~Aristotle

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About The Author

Mike credits his early military training as the one thing that kept him disciplined through the many years. He currently provides his expertise as an adviser for the DoD. Michael Kurcina subscribes to the Spotter Up way of life. “I will either find a way or I will make one”.

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