Fifty: The Movie follows mental health advocate, athlete and fundraiser extraordinaire Malcolm Law and his friends as they run 50 marathons up 50 peaks in 50 consecutive days. Along the way they start mental health conversations and raise more than $500,000 for the Mental Health Foundation.
The movie is a great example of how inspirational a person can be if they challenge personal and societal boundaries around what can be achieved.
On paper, the task of running 50 marathons in 50 days seems insurmountable, but then add in traversing 50 peaks and you might be forgiven for thinking you’re hearing a piece of fantasy. Yet you are brought down to earth with Mal’s heartfelt disclosure of what inspired him to run these mountains. His personal experience of family loss, trauma and its imprint on his life is heartbreaking and, sadly, something that is becoming more common in today's society.
Generosity and banding together
What this movie highlights is the boundless generosity of the community, and that when we unite, our voices can be heard to reduce stigma and raise awareness of mental health.
Halfway through watching the movie I had an epiphany about what Mal was demonstrating. If you live with depression, your mountain peak is day-to-day living. Just getting out of bed to face the day, with the thoughts and feelings you experience, is like climbing Everest. This is played out by Mal in Fifty, as he experiences both mental and physical challenges that take him to the brink during the High Five-0.
As a running fan myself, who no longer runs marathons due to old knees, this movie and Mal’s journey has inspired me to find an alternative to marathon running. The benefits of keeping moving and connected with nature are numerous no matter what the distance.
Reviewed by Paul Hellesoe, psychiatric nurse in Auckland