Look the Part wrote:
I can make only superficial comments based on the preview commercial I saw but, once again, it appears that the actors in the film look nothing like real runners (body type, form, etc.)
I recall a recent article (from RW?) that addressed the difficulties in making a "running" film that looks realistic, but I still find it hard to believe that a casting director can't find a boatload of actors who can look the part of a real distance runner. Seriously, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting an out-of-work actor who is just looking for his/her shot, and it seems reasonable that many of them would have some sort of running background.
I think two or three of the McFarland guys actually competed for the real McFarland team. There were many McFarland alumni (mostly jv types) in the background running scenes. Towards the end of the trailer there is a scene with a family dinner that shows a young man laughing--he ran varsity for McFarland circa 2011, and I think he is the #3/4 runner on the team.
It's easy to be critical of the film, especially if it's a trailer, but I can assure you this film treated the principal characters (the team and coach white) with the utmost respect. That, ultimately is the most important part. I will also tell you that the level of detail was incredible: there were props that won't get screen time that looked authentic to 1987. Water bottles, programs, race bib numbers, etc. Keep in mind, this film wasn't made for the LR audience but the general American audience. I can also tell you that the hundreds of extras used in the running scenes worked hard to create authenticity. Scenes would be filmed in this order: finish line, mile 1 hill, start line, mile 2 flat, mid race hill, etc. not exactly like running a real race, which was difficult, but enjoyable.
As far as the concern about the speed during the race and the pushing too, it makes for better cinema. Watch that footage, then go on YouTube and find a high school XC race footage and you will clearly see which one is more entertaining.