Explore the miracle of running through the science of human evolution. The Perfect Runner celebrates the modern love of endurance running by exploring our past as the running ape.

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Perfect Runner Award
Perfect Runner Award
Perfect Runner Award
Perfect Runner Award
Perfect Runner Award
Perfect Runner Award
Perfect Runner Award
Perfect Runner Award


How did our ancestors survive the shift from trees to land? How did Homo sapiens evolve to dominate the planet? How did our ancestors hunt before they developed weapons?

You’ll be amazed to learn, the answer lies in a remarkable ability we evolved far earlier than our powerful brains. Humans are nature’s perfect endurance runners, and our ancestors could outrun all the animals in their environment.

“Whether you’re a fan of running or just a lover of adventure, Niobe Thompson’s remarkable documentary takes you all over the world to explore mankind’s perfect stride. Not to be missed.”

National Post

The Perfect Runner celebrates the modern love of long-distance running by exploring our evolutionary past as a species defined by its ability to run. Cambridge anthropologist and Gemini-winning host Niobe Thompson takes a journey of personal discovery back in evolutionary time, learning from the world’s leading evolutionary biologists and immersed in distant cultures whose survival still depends on endurance running. From Africa’s Great Rift Valley to the highlands of Ethiopia, from the most remote place in Arctic Siberia to one of the world’s toughest ultramarathons in the Canadian Rockies, this documentary weaves cutting-edge science with gripping adventure, and asks what today’s runners can learn from our evolutionary past.

“Breathtaking scenes…captures the essence of how our ancestors became runners when it was purely a survival skill”

Canadian Running

Finally understand the science and sport of barefoot running. A visual feast in full HD, from the makers of the double-Gemini winner Code Breakers (2011), and Inuit Odyssey (2009), Best Science Documentary at the Banff World Television Awards.

Don’t Take Our Word For It

  • “A big beautiful, visually stunning film.”

    Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Citizen, Calgary Herald, Victoria Times Colonist, Windsor Star, Vancouver Sun, Regina Leader Post

  • “The film — which features breathtaking cinematography — explores how our ancestors used their unique ability as endurance runners to evolve from ‘a tree climbing ape to dominate our world.’”

    Winnipeg Free Press

  • “An intriguing mix of science and practice along with beautiful cinematography featuring runners of all types.”

    Montreal Gazette

  • “Combines history and science to explain why more and more experts are drawing on the past to train the world’s top athletes.”

    Toronto Star

  • “In a gripping climax, host Niobe Thompson tackles one of the world’s greatest tests of endurance to determine whether modern urban humans can still run like their hunter-gather ancestors.”

    Northern Stars



Niobe Thompson


Daron Donahue & Michael McLaughlin


Brenda Terning

Production Manager

Sandra Tober

Production Coordinator

Emma Radford

Executive Producers for CBC

Bob Culbert & FM Morisson

Handful Credit

Watch The Film

The Perfect Runner is available to download or stream through Vimeo On Demand.

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