The Road to Sparta

Four runners, Four stories; One Greek drama
The Road to Sparta follows the fortunes of four runners, including "UltraMarathon Man" Dean Karnazes, as they attempt to follow in the footsteps of Pheidippides and complete the gruelling 246 kilometre Spartathlon in just 36 hours.

Using specially-commissioned poetry from AE Stallings and music from Old House Playground, The Road to Sparta blends the ancient tale with the modern race and discovers a road paved with blood and blisters, pain and glory.

  • Barney Spender
    Director
  • Roddy Gibson
    Director
  • Barney Spender
    Producer
  • Dean Karnazes
    Key Cast
  • Angela Terzi
    Key Cast
  • Rob Pinnington
    Key Cast
  • Mark Woolley
    Key Cast
  • Old House Playground
    Original Music
  • AE Stallings
    Original Poetry
  • James Phillipson
    Executive Producers
  • Tom Hiotis
    Executive Producers
    Swing Away
  • Clive Martin
    Music Producer
    The Last Emperor
  • Renos Haralambidis
    Voice artists
    No Budget Story; Cheap Smokes; La Coeur de la Bête; Swing Away
  • Malamatenia Gotsi
    Voice artists
    The Valiants of Samothrace, Mes Mariées, Morally and Kicking, Nina
  • Project Type:
    Documentary
  • Runtime:
    1 hour
  • Completion Date:
    June 30, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    12,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    Greece
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Athens Adventure Film Festival
    Athens
    Greece
    October 23, 2016
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
  • British Sports Journalist Association Awards 2017
    London
    United Kingdom
    Shortlisted for: Television Sport Factual or Feature
  • Light House Cinema, Dublin
    Dublin
    Ireland
    October 28, 2017
    Irish Premiere
  • Enginuity Film Awards
    Las Vegas
    United States
    August, 2018
    Winner - Best Director (Documentary), Runner-up - Best Writing (Documentary), Runner-up - Best Female Voiceover, Runner-up - Best Trailer
  • London Greek Film Festival
    London
    United Kingdom
    May 7, 2018
    British premiere
    Best Documentary, 2nd prize
  • Out of the Can Film Festival
    Derby
    United Kingdom
    August 4, 2018
    Best Documentary - runner-up; Best Original Music: - runner-up
  • Rome Independent Prisma Awards
    Rome
    Italy
    Official Selection
  • Melbourne Documentary Film Festival
    Melbourne
    Australia
    July 10, 2018
    Australian premiere
    Official Selection
  • Motion Pictures Film Festival
    Lagos
    Nigeria
    August 29, 2018
    African Premiere
    Winner - Best Poetry
  • Satisfied Eye Film Festival
    Epsom
    United Kingdom
    October 28, 2018
    Winner - Best Documentary
  • Peloponnese International Documentary Film Festival
    Sparta
    Greece
    January 26, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Peloponnese International Documentary Film Festival
    Kalamata
    Greece
    January 27, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Thijsse-Wolkers Hall, Texel
    Den Burg, Texel
    Netherlands
    April 5, 2019
    Dutch Premiere
    Special race screening
  • Irish Cultural Centre, Paris
    Paris
    France
    April 9, 2019
    French Premiere
  • Plymouth Arts Cinema
    Plymouth
    United Kingdom
    May 16, 2019
  • Buenos Aires Running Film Festival (1)
    Buenos Aires
    Argentina
    October 8, 2019
    South American Premier
    Official Selection
  • Buenos Aires Running Film Festival (2)
    Mendoza
    Argentina
    October 22, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Navarino Challenge
    Costa Navarino
    Greece
    October 11, 2019
    Charity screening
  • Nordic Adventure Film Festival
    Copenhagen
    Denmark
    November 26, 2020
    Scandinavian Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Francophonie Festival
    Singapore
    Singapore
    March 21, 2023
Distribution Information
  • Network Television Ireland
    Sales Agent
    Country: Ireland
    Rights: Internet, Video on Demand, Pay Per View, Hotel, Airline, Ship, Theatrical, Free TV, Paid TV, Console / Handheld Device
Director Biography - Barney Spender, Roddy Gibson

Barney Spender and Roddy Gibson met in the 1980s at university where they acted together and built a lot of sets. After university they went their separate ways, Barney into the world of sports journalism and Roddy into film and documentary production.

Barney's career took him to live in London, Australia, South Africa, Greece and currently France.

Roddy based himself in London where he set up two production companies, Emerald and Juice, making hundreds of shorts and documentaries, before taking over the film and television course at Middlesex University.

In 2014, Barney reminded Roddy of the good times they had had 30 years earlier and suggested they collaborate once again. Roddy didn't need a lot of persuasion. And a partnership was reborn, with each bringing their separate eye and skills into The Road to Sparta.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

"Imagine running a marathon, 42.2 kilometres of hot tarmac under a burning sun. And when you have finished, carry on running. Do it again. And again. And again. Six times in fact. Non-stop. All the time wondering whether you have eaten enough and whether you are going fast enough to make the next check point before the cut-off.

"The Spartathlon is an astonishing race run by ordinary/extraordinary people in a beautiful, conflicted country with ancient history and contemporary austerity. The Road to Sparta is our love letter to the incredible paradox that is Greece."