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In the Faroe Islands, Trail Running Is Therapy

Aug 22, 2019 | 797 videos
Video by Tim Kemple

Sometimes, when Sverri Steinholm is in the midst of a particularly difficult trail run, he wonders why he puts his body through these feats of endurance in the first place. Why are you doing this stupid thing? he thinks to himself. I’ll never do it again.


“And I do it again and again,” Steinholm says in Tim Kemple’s short documentary, The Running Pastor. “I have to do it. My body needs it, or my soul, or my mind. It’s something almost magical.”


The film, from Camp4 Collective and Merrell, is a dynamic portrait of the Faroe Islands native, for whom running is a form of therapy. The son of a shepherd on an island where there are more sheep than people, Steinholm has a deep reverence for the North Atlantic archipelago and its dramatic landscape. But he knows its people, too—Steinholm is the local pastor. He is the thread that runs through Faroese life, from its rugged cliffs to its population’s intimate desires.


Kemple’s stunning drone cinematography captures Steinholm in conversation with his environment through the act of trail running. “He would run the ridges until they ended, take in the view, and then come bounding back to us,” Kemple told me. “He was like a kid in a candy store. He loves being out there.” Kemple, who is a climber, said he was impressed with Steinholm’s agility as he traversed the exposed mountain ridges. “I’ve never seen someone move as effortlessly in that kind of terrain.”

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Author: Emily Buder

About This Series

A showcase of cinematic short documentary films, curated by The Atlantic.