THE HIGH: Making the Toughest Race on Earth

A Film by Barry Walton

The Story

In 2010, a group of extreme runners brought together by an adventure-obsessed race director mutually volunteer in a running experiment over the two highest passes in the world. Joined by a wily war journalist from The Christian Science Monitor. The five find themselves in a mix of unforeseen oversights that would leave not only the race in jeopardy, but also their very lives.

The story opens with race director Rajat Chauhan and the telling of a whimsical weekend run in high altitude that gave birth to the experiment. A doctor out of New Delhi, Rajat’s failed dreams to be a professional runner in youth have driven his obsession for this new outlet. Connecting through Facebook and emails to extreme-running groups around the world. Rajat finds twenty-seven interested candidates, but only three would end up at the starting line. The first, Molly Sheridan, an experienced ultra-marathon runner from the USA joined the team from the word go. Sharing her excitement for the experimental expedition with companion and anti-aging scientist Bill Andrews. The two are soul mates on an ultra-running mission and set off to India with racing excitement and ceremonious high-altitude plans for the future. The third and final member, Mark Cockbain joined from the UK and brought a strong ultra history of completing many the hardest foot races in the world. Upon arrival, the starting gun fires and the three set out on a journey full of treacherous challenges and life changing events.

Joining the race on day 2 is the lone journalist for the event Ben Arnoldy. While living in New Delhi, Ben had been covering the war in Afghanistan for The Christian Science Monitor. Looking to for a break from the sad tragedies of war, he excitedly went to the Ladakh region in hopes to cover a new story of humans accomplishing new feats. Showing up on day two of the race he discovers the unfolding of a running experiment gone wrong. Working to uncover the events of the previous day he learns of wedding ceremonies at 18,000 feet, runners down from dehydration, and hospital visits that ring of fatality. Spending his time on the course collecting the fragments of Rajat’s collapsing dream. He talks in detail of his experience and insights until he himself would come up lost and missing from the course before its end.

With the race and the dream, hanging in the balance of finish-line-obsession. One question remains to be answered, will there be a finisher or will this race finish them all? In the answer rests the reason that it’s called the toughest race on earth.

Director’s Statement

“In 2011 I traveled to India to cover the second running of arguably the toughest footrace on earth. During my time there I uncovered the story of the near death making during the original running of the race a year prior. From its discovery I was instantly compelled to tell the story and the events that had unfolded. Filled with pioneering against all odds, human obsession for achievement, and lives that dangled in the balance. I have pieced together the original race with archive footage, recreations, and interviews. I am proud to present what I believe to be a rare and untold story of, THE HIGH: Making the Toughest Race on Earth.”

The Interviewees

The Filmmakers

Barry Walton

Barry Walton

Director/Producer/Editor

Barry Walton has been working for over 15 years in a variety of film, commercial & television projects. In 1999, Barry started working in Los Angeles in film and commercials. Moving to San Francisco in 2006, he started working for a non-fiction television production company and began producing shows for National Geographic, Animal Planet, and other Discovery Network subsidiaries. In 2008 he started his first project called Profiling HURT about an ultra runner journey to the HURT 100 race in Hawaii. The project went on to receive the Honolulu Accolade Award from the Honolulu Film Awards in 2011. Inspired by the experience, in 2010 Barry began the research for The High and in 2011 went into production on the project. Today Barry continues to work in the field professionally as a sports producer and editor for the NBA’s Detroit Pistons. He also maintains his interest in documentary films through BTV Productions which he started in 2006.

James Herron

James Herron

Director of Photography

A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, James Herron is an experienced Director of Photography (DP) based out of Brooklyn, NY. Having worked on feature films and national television, James joined The High in 2012, and traveled to India for three weeks to be the DP on the project. During his time working with The High, James has proven to be a great asset adding creative direction to the shooting of recreations and taking on the challenges of shooting through brutal schedules at 18,000 feet. Currently he owns and operates Illium Pictures, a full service production company based out of Brooklyn. And on his off time he’s trying to master the art of making bread.

Screenings

We are currently awaiting acceptance from several film festival applications and will be announcing them here as soon as we know.

If you are interested in hosting the film in your area, please email us for information: btvproductions@adventurebtv.com.

Press Kit

Press Photos

Download Press Kit: .PDF .DOC

Contact

BTV Productions

btvproductions@adventurebtv.com

For more on The High race event go to: thehigh.in.

And for Rajat himself go to: b2f.in.

Film Credits

Directed By:
Barry Walton
Cinematography:
James Herron
Editor:
Barry Walton
Sound Design:
Pontus Gunve
Motion Design:
Darrell Quandt
Web/Logo Design:
Nick Zalewski
Still Photography:
Abhijit Yeole Photography

Backer Credits

  • Executive Producers
    • Rajat Chauhan
    • Andrew Backhaus & Alto Lab
    • The Wasserman Family
  • Founding Producers
    • Molly Sheridan
    • Bill Andrews
    • Bill Cole
    • Kenneth Posner
    • John T. Sharp
    • Arylis Scates
    • Michele Ufer
  • Special Thanks Backers
    • George & Judy Walton
    • Bailey Sheridan
    • Matt Peterson
    • Pallavi Savant
    • Diane Harper
    • Colleen Hannegan
    • Matt & Brenda Rupp
    • Justyn (Jup) Brown
    • Brad Robison
    • Teresa Brown
    • Tyras Bookman
    • Karen Shaver
    • Peter Tassinario
    • Bernadette Benson
    • Corey Easler
    • Patrick Van Beusekom
    • Fadi Castronovo
    • Lacey
    • Ritchey
    • Pat Hogan
    • Tyler Davidoff
    • Paolo Nicolardi
    • John Vigil
    • Vickie McConnell
    • Ed & Phil Active
    • Fred Grajo
    • Greg Tseng
    • Brandon Gold
    • Abhishek Gupta
  • Production Contributors
    • Kim & Dustin Short
    • Micheal Solomon
    • Brian Leman
    • Ryan Cofrancesco
    • Sharath Raju
    • Glenn Raudins
    • Irene Ranzato
    • Kieran Osborne
    • Stephanie Rorke
    • Mark Woolley
    • Cheryl Stein
    • Jessica McKimmie
    • Wella Lasola
    • Rebekah Trittipoe
    • Sean Buchanan
    • Daniel Bernal
    • Ryan King
    • Didier Devaud
    • Gary Henry
    • Surjeet Paintal
    • Christopher Lay
    • Jennifer Steinman
    • Tracy Thomas
    • Tony Nigirelli
    • Vivek Kant
    • Roger Palpant
    • Rishard Greenbury
    • Opiyo Okeyo
    • Multidays and Ultra Running News
    • Lynzi Leroy
    • Chad Crawford
    • Tim Dwyer
    • Valentina Ricciuti
    • Greg Ammen