Darius Sam is making the Nicola Valley proud once more with another achievement, but this time it is in the arts rather than athletics. Sam stars in a short independent film about the journey of his second attempt at completing his 100-mile run, giving a new meaning to finish lines. 

‘The Runner’ is a 17 minute short film that covers Darius Sam’s second attempt at completing a 100-mile run back on December 5, 2020. This was his second attempt at the challenge, falling 11 miles short in June of that year. 

Darius Sam completing 100-mile run in 2020. Photo/Amar Chebib

“I didn’t know how, but I had a vision of changing the way people think, changing how they view themselves and how they treat their lives,” said Sam.

“I hope the film can really open some eyes and maybe push some people to chase what they want to do with their life.” 

Director Amar Chebib discovered about Sam and his undertaking online and instantly wanted to tell his story. 

“I just came across an online article that was shared on Facebook,” Chebib recalled. “It was the Merritt Herald’s preview article when he did the run back in December 2020. I was amazed from his story, so I just reached out to him via social media and we started talking.” 

Chebib is an independent filmmaker based out of Vancouver. He created the film ‘Joe Buffalo,’ a story about the namesake who is a residential school survivor turned professional skateboarder from Samson Cree Nation in Alberta. 

“I was incredibly inspired by Darius and his story,” said Chebib. “Being there, filming him while he was on the run, seeing all the ups and downs, the community coming out to support him, it was really touching.”

“That’s how it came out to be,” said Sam. “He just reached out through instagram and we hopped on a zoom call that day and we talked it over and we kind of got along right away.” 

Sam noted that Chebib and his crew started filming with less than two weeks away from his run. 

“There wasn’t much of a script,” he recalled. “They came down and just figured it out when they got here. It was free flowing and it was kind of a freestyle film. I thought it was just going to be a few clips here and there and it would be cool. I didn’t know it would be what it is right now.” ”

For the past few years Darius Sam has become one of the most notable figures coming from the Nicola Valley. The 22-year old has gained national recognition for his feats in long distance running, most recently becoming one of the youngest runners in history to complete the Moab 240, a 240 mile race across the desert in Moab, Utah. 

“The feeling can be a little bit overwhelming,” said Sam, speaking on the attention he has been receiving from running. 

“Did I really deserve to have this opportunity? However, I think as people get focused on their hobby or their craft and put a lot of energy and effort into it, they can manifest anything they want to.”

Sam completed the 100-mile run to raise money and awareness for men’s mental health. He was able to raise over $13,000 with his GoFund me page for the Nicola Family Therapy. 

“It’s cool to have a film come out and we can highlight men’s mental health, where men could really come forward and maybe step outside of their comfort zone.” Sam explained.  

“Kind of rolling into being softer, being loving to yourself. It was pitched that we were going to really highlight that in the film and I was all for it. I think it’s really beautiful.” 

Sam’s previous attempt had also raised money, providing $100,000 for the Nicola Valley Food Bank. 

The film is already gaining traction, being picked up by both the Edmonton and Vancouver International Film Festivals. 

A special advanced screening of the film will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, October 4,  for the community at the NVIT Lecture Theatre at 6:30 pm. A 10:30 am screening will also be held exclusively for NVIT staff and students. 

“I’m looking forward to the community showing up,” Sam said. “I look forward to seeing the young kids, the Indigenous population, and a lot of good human beings and good souls coming through. Hopefully it leaves a positive impact on our community, thats the ultimate goal.” 

The Runner will be releasing online on October 10 at www.newyorker.com and on the New Yorker’s official YouTube channel