2017 SBC Annual Meeting

Phoenix, AZ | June 13-14, 2017

'Run the Race' explores questions of life & faith

by Aaron Earls

Monday, June 26, 2017

PHOENIX (BP) -- Where is God when bad things happen? An upcoming film says He is pursuing you in the midst of those trying times.

Following two teenage brothers, Zach and Dave Truett, "Run the Race" poses tough questions and is meant to stir up conversations about faith, according to filmmakers Jake McEntire and Trey Brunson.

LifeWay Films hosted a screening of "Run the Race" June 12 following the Southern Baptist Convention's annual Pastor's Conference. It's scheduled for theatrical release in early 2018.

McEntire said the film, currently still in the post-production and editing process, is a story of redemption. "It's a story of a guy who knows a lot about Jesus, but isn't sure he knows Jesus like some of the people around him," he said.

"It's a powerful prodigal son story because you see God pursuing Zach throughout the movie," Brunson said. "He's running only to realize God is chasing him."

Zach, played by Tanner Stine, is a star high school running back with big plans on earning a scholarship to help him and his brother Dave escape their small town and their alcoholic father who abandoned them when their mother died. A busted knee threatens Zach's dreams of a full-ride to college.

For much of the film, Zach questions why God would allow these tragedies to happen.

Dave, played by Evan Hofer, was the team's quarterback, but had to leave the sport after a hit to the head the previous season resulted in seizures. He later joins the high school track team with his own hopes of a college scholarship.

Along the way, Dave holds on to their mother's faith with the help of the brothers' godmother, played by Frances Fisher.

In writing the screenplay, McEntire said he incorporated elements from various friends' lives with his own journey of tearing his ACL and losing athletic scholarships to develop the story of Zach and Dave Truett.

The movie needed to be true to life, Brunson said. "Sometimes bad things happen and that's just as much a part of God's love and care for our life as when good things happen.

"If you take your unbelieving friend to see this film, they'll walk away with questions, but they'll know what you believe," he said. "When you have Jesus, you have everything you need."

Brunson relayed a story of the film editor's daughters inviting friends over to watch "Run the Race." Two of the girls were atheists and said they appreciated how the film handled doubts and questions. 

"This movie will create opportunities to discuss faith with kids in your community," Brunson said.

To bring this film to the screen has been a process for McEntire. He said he, Brunson and Robbie Tebow, brother of the Heisman trophy winning quarterback Tim Tebow, have been working on the film for 12 years. They are excited to see their film finally come to theaters.

"We want people to watch this and see the treasures in life are not money, fame and popularity," McEntire said. "The treasure in life is Jesus."

Brunson's father and senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., Mac Brunson, encouraged attendees of the screening to pray for the movie. 

"These are young Baptist men who are doing everything they can to get the Gospel out to this generation," the pastor said. "Pray for this movie and pray for them."

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Aaron Earls is a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources.