A Journey Of Healing Through Ultra Cycling

Catherine Dunn’s new film aims to open up difficult but important conversations in adventure films

Feature type Video

Published Feb 02, 2023

Photographer Catherine Dunn

Base editorial team
BASE editorial team BASE writers and editors who live and breathe adventure every day. We love adventure storytelling as much as we love adventure itself.

‘This is not a story of success against the odds, or a story of triumph in the face of adversity. This is an honest story about failure.

‘Life is not perfect, but it is possible.’ – Jenni Myers

Produced and directed by adventure filmmaker Catherine Dunn, new film Possible premieres today at 7pm to coincide with Mind’s Time To Talk Day. Possible documents ultra-endurance cyclist Jenni Myers’ attempt at the GBDuro, a 2000km off-road race from Land’s End to John O’Groats. The race however, was merely a backdrop to a much more personal story of healing.

You can watch the full film below:

Having suffered from agoraphobia for most of her life, Jenni sought out opportunities to stretch the boundaries of her horizon at every opportunity. She began by going for short runs round her house, always having an escape route if she needed it. But, before long, she was pedalling for hundreds of miles on weekends and began entering ultra-distance races.

Land’s End (the official start of GBDuro) is just about the furthest away from Jenni’s home that she could reach in the UK – a remote location with few escape routes. But, her presence on the start line was already an indicator of how far she’d come in her personal battle against agoraphobia.

With the race unfolding in unfavourable conditions, extreme heat and exposed terrain meant that a number of participants suffered heat stroke. For Jenni, this presented another situation from which escape was almost certainly impossible.

Catherine adopted a unique approach to filming that allowed for Jenni to comfortably tell her story as the race unfolded. ‘Behind the scenes, Possible was a unique filmmaking venture,’ she says. ‘Given the personal nature of the film, it was important that Jenni was left to tell her story to a camera alone. Diarised entries in the build-up to GBDuro were an important element, whilst allowing Jenni time to practice the difficult art of self-filming.

‘During the race, the film crew did not come into direct contact with Jenni, but captured scene-setting shots from afar, whilst she was left to converse with a small camera that was attached to her handlebars. This approach is not often used in adventure filmmaking, but for such a personal story it gave Jenni the breathing room to be open, vulnerable and honest about her experience.’ 

‘Difficult conversations around mental health are sometimes alluded to in adventure films, but largely shied away from in their entirety,’ Catherine says. ‘Yet so many of us experience these damaging struggles in our lifetime – perhaps Possible can encourage us to talk about these struggles a little more.’

Mind’s Time To Talk Day is an initiative designed to encourage everyone to make time in their day to have conversations about mental health. You can find out more here, and be sure to check out Matt Glenn’s story, Mental Mountains, (first featured in issue 09 of BASE magazine) for another reminder of the importance of opening up challenging conversations about mental health.

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