The Post Runner

About SkyRise

We specialise in creating films about travel, adventure and endurance sports. We have made films with some incredible people over the past year including Sean Conway, Phoebe Smith, Alastair Humphries, Ian Finch and Lizzie Carr. The films we’ve made have proved extremely popular, with Sean’s film a real standout gaining over 100k views online in just a few months.

Just recently we filmed again with Sean Conway, this time on an epic 4 week trip, following and filming Sean as he broke the
world record for cycling across Europe. We are lucky enough to now have partnered up with Sean and will be filming many more of his adventures/challenges in the future.


Our inspiration…

In September 2019 we are planning to shoot an ultra-running film with a difference, as we recreate the experiences of the heroic men who ran important parcels and documents across the Scottish Highlands in the late 1700s and early 1800s. They were known as Post Runners, and  were the unsung endurance athletes of their time.

The story of one man in particular, Duncan Mackenzie, really inspired us. He stood out for his athletic abilities and stamina as he routinely carried the post from the West Coast of Scotland to Dingwall near Inverness and back. There were no paved roads, just the uneven ground of the rugged fells and mountains. Quite often he would run 120 miles in just three days, and he continued this schedule week in and week out for many years. It was a truly incredible feat, especially considering he ran in all weathers over rough terrain with no trail running kit, nutritional knowledge or awareness as to how to treat and rest the body as today’s athletes do.

We were also inspired by the fact that the post he carried in his knapsack the only real form of distance communication that existed at the time. In his possession would be important contracts, notifications of a birth, marriage or a death, love letters - vital documents that could change the course of a person’s life. For decades whole communities depended entirely on the Post Runner’s faithful progress back and forth across the hills.


Our plans for the Post Runner film…

Our intent with the film is to create a stunning cinematic journey, and a trail running film like no other. We want to both see if it’s possible to recreate one of Duncan’s incredible journeys of 120 miles in 3 days , and also to put into historical context just how vital the fascinating role of the post runner was to the life of his local community.

We also want to understand just why his remarkable physical achievements were taken for granted. In modern times this sort of job would be seen as impossible, but at that time it was expected. Is it simply that social expectations have changed – or have our bodies changed too?

All this will be shot in the stunning setting of the Scottish Highlands. Along with plenty of gritty and adrenalin fuelled trail running action and adventure, blended with the fascinating history of the place and its people.

To achieve these aims SkyRise founder, director and head of production Kev Merrey will be attempting to follow the same route as Donald would have taken, running  the 120 miles in three days. He’ll be wearing the same traditional clothing, such as a kilt, leather boots and eating the same food and drinking the same amount of fluids.

He’ll carry the equivalent weight of post in a sheepskin knapsack and he’ll also stay in traditional accommodation or sleep rough as Duncan would have done on occasion. We also plan to have Kev deliver traditional parcels and documents to some of the locals along the route, adding to the authenticity of the adventure. By tracking Kev’s experience closely we’ll be able to understand what these men really went through – and find out if today’s endurance athletes can compare to the stoic posties of yesteryear.

We will be working closely with local historians and museums to ground the film in the region and to bring out the social context of the world in which Duncan was living. And the final icing on the cake is that Duncan also happens to be the great-great-great-grandfather of Paul Hollywood of Great British Bake Off fame. We have contacted Paul about the film and asked if he'd be interested in providing a voiceover and / or interview. We’re also planning to add in interviews with other endurance athletes, including Sean Conway, who will help to set the Post Runner’s achievements in context.


Release plans

We plan to make a five-minute edited down version for YouTube, Vimeo and social media channels, a fifteen-minute version for entry into film festivals such as Banff and Kendal. We are also anticipating that there will be enough footage for a sixty-minute single documentary for online or TV broadcast that will delve further into the social history of the Post Runners and give more on-screen time to Kev’s experience too.  We will be partner up with Sidetracked Magazine on the film, so it will not only go out on our channels, but Sidetracked’s too.


Sponsorship opportunities

We are actively seeking sponsors and brands to support the film. The Scottish setting of course lends itself well to regional brands and products.

The inspiring story of men of endurance from times gone by mixed with the achievements of a modern-day endurance athlete carry elements and themes that could appeal to brands of all kinds who have values connected to stoicism, adventure, stability, endurance, selflessness, adventurousness, reliability etc. And the added element of the post and its importance speaks to ideas around communication, connectedness and community.

We welcome partners of all kinds to come on board and join us in exploring and celebrating the world of the incredible Post Runners, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Tel: 07779 153898