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Hero image for The Greatest Run on Earth

The Greatest Run on Earth

Television (Full Length) – 1980

This film documents Auckland's Round the Bays run. In 1980 jogging was booming, with coach Arthur Lydiard and a band of Olympic champs (Snell, Walker, etc) inspiring the way. Here, participants run and reflect, from a blind runner, to children and an army squad. Slo-mo sweat, sinew and samba shots frame the 70,000 runners as members of an infectious cult chasing the piper around the waterfront. Adidas, terry towelling and facial hair make the film a relaxed 70s update on Olympiad; directed by Sam Pillsbury it won awards at Chicago and Torino festivals.

Running gives me something ‘spiritual’ — which sounds a bit silly — but there’s something spiritual about it. There’s something about running that makes you feel part of ‘what is’ on the earth ... and I suppose Round the Bays is a celebration of that.
– Bill Taylor, running philosopher and ex-arthritis sufferer

Key Cast & Crew

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Sam Pillsbury

Writer, Producer, Director

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D.O.C. Williams

Associate Producer

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Morton Wilson


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Waka Attewell

Additional Camera

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David Caldwell

Additional Camera

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Ian Paul

Additional Camera

See all 28 credits

Produced by

  • TVNZ

  • Pillsbury Films



‘Round the Bays’ song by Roger Brittenden, Murray Grindla