Saint Ralph (2004) - full transcript

It's the 1953/54 school year at St. Magnus Catholic School in Hamilton, Ontario. Fourteen year old Ralph Walker is in many ways a typical teenager. He is experimenting with smoking and is openly preoccupied with the opposite sex, which makes him the brunt of jokes amongst his male classmates and which constantly gets him into trouble with the school's strict headmaster, Father Fitzpatrick. As penance and to redirect his energies, Father Fitzpatrick orders Ralph to join the school's cross country running team under the tutelage of the school's avant-garde thinking teacher, Father Hibbert. Some of the more unusual circumstances of Ralph's life are that he lives by himself in the family home, telling the authorities that he is living with his paternal grandparents (who are in reality deceased), and telling his widowed hospitalized mother (Ralph's father was killed in the war) that he is staying with a friend. Ralph's focus in life changes after his mother falls into a coma. It will take a miracle for her to come out of that coma. After two unrelated and somewhat innocent comments made to Ralph by Father Hibbert on prayer, purity and faith and running the Boston Marathon, Ralph believes that that miracle will be him winning the 1954 Boston Marathon for which he only has 180 days to train. To obtain the necessary physical and spiritual requirements to achieve this goal, Ralph receives some help from his friends Claire Collins and Chester Jones, and from one of the hospital's compassionate nurses named Alice. Although he believes Ralph's mission is misguided, Father Hibbert, who has his own secret past running history, becomes Ralph's personal trainer. These actions place Father Hibbert and Ralph at odds with Father Fitzpatrick, who sees his and other authority figures' roles as needing to show Ralph his place in life. - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
Forgive me, Father,
for I have sinned.

It has been one week
since my last confession.

I took the Lord's name
in vain 211 times.

Goddamn it.

I had 22 impure thoughts.

- I contemplated murder.
- Murder?

Only in thought, Father.
Only in thought.

Get back here, you bastards.

Surely there must be some
self-abuse, my son.

I have committed
22 sins of the flesh.

You're a pervert.

You're not even making an appearance
in purgatory with that record.

Really? I had no idea.

I'm not even sure I have
the power to forgive you.

Please, Father.
I'll try harder.

That's the problem.

You should talk to a priest,
not me, kid.

I can't believe
I actually told them...

that I'd abused myself
22 times in the last week.

Twenty-two times?

And I thought
I was going to hell.

Is it Grace or Gracie
for your grandmother?


Come on!

Put out that cigarette.
You're breaking school rules.

Hey, Chester, I need to smoke.

It calms my nerves.

We're having confession
later today.

Thought you might like
to join us, Walker.


Think there's a world record
for hanging?

Probably not.

Even if there isn't, I could announce
that I'm gonna set one.

Look, I can hang here all day.

Did you see that attempted catch?

Who would've guessed
she'd have such reach?


Get me Mr. Walker. Again.

You know, the green of your sweater
brings out the color of your eyes.

Makes them sparkle.


That's the sweetest thing
anybody ever said to me.



Father Fitzpatrick will see you now.

Thank you.

Good afternoon, Father.

How are you today?


You were smoking
on school property.

Technically, yes...

but I was practically
off the grounds.

Technicalities are the cornerstone,
Mr. Walker.

Now there's too much documentation
on you already.

Are you purposefully trying to get
yourself kicked out of St. Magnus...

or is there another reason
I'm completely overlooking...

for your utter inability to fit in?

I'm destined for greatness.

You're 14 years old.

Greatness is not an option.

Now don't you think your grandparents
have enough to worry about?

A week of weeding
Father Zinger's gardens. That's all.

But, Father, I was only smoking.

Two weeks.
That will be all.

And one thing more.

Nothing gets by me,
Mr. Walker.

Absolutely nothing.

- Mr. Walker.
- Here's my late slip.

- You think so?
- Nietzsche does.

Independent seatwork
for the remainder of the period.

Have you read Nietzsche?

Is he that Chinese guy?

No, he's that philosopher guy.

Was he Catholic?

Seems odd not to be studying Catholics
in religion class.

Besides, I thought we were
having a test.

We're not. It's far too sunny out
for testing. Wouldn't you agree?

I'm hoping Nietzsche will be
better for your brain.

Well, I suppose so.

Sorry about your face.

What's wrong with my face?


I meant the cut from baseball.

In fact, it's a wonderful face.


It's about time
we went on a date, Collins.

Really, Walker?

Dinner, maybe.

Something formal,
but within bike-riding distance.

I want our first date
to be memorable.

And I want it to be
Good Friday every day.

Good! Next Friday night.

I'll come by around 7:00.
No, make that 7:30...

just to give you some extra time
to get ready.

Paging Dr. Edwards.
Please come to Admitting.

How's it going,
my Mr. Walker?

Mom, absolutely
couldn't be any better.


Growing wings as we speak.

I figured as much.

Everything still working out
staying at Chester's house?

I like it there. Honest.

Do you go by the house?

Just to cut the grass.

Here you go, Emma.

Hello, Ralph.

Hey, Alice,
is that a new hair clip?

Don't mess with me, kid.

No, seriously.
It looks stunning.

Did you conquer the world today,
my Mr. Walker?

I've got a date with Claire
next Friday.

I like that girl.


I bought this for you.

I know, and I feel the same.

Not quite the haircut
I had in mind.

I think it's too short.

You could pull it off.

Not many could.

You make a fantastic scarf selector.

- Thank you, Ralph.
- You're welcome.

Your father would be proud.

Walker residence.

How may I direct your call?

Cut the crap, Ralph.
It's Chester.

Do you really think anyone's gonna believe
that's your grandmother?

Do you want to go swimming today?

I thought you hated swimming,

My brother says you can see...

right inside the women's change room
from a certain angle.

I need to see naked girls.

I wish Fred had told me exactly
where you're supposed to look.

- Do you think he was lying?
- Couldn't have been.

This is useless.

I'm leaving.
You coming?

Christ, Chester.


We haven't even dived yet.
I'm staying to work on my flips.

I've been reading
about Olympic divers.

Doesn't seem like there's
much competition in that field.

See ya.

Holy Christ.

Fred was right.

What's the matter with that boy?

Is he having a seizure?

Looks more like a fit
if you ask me.

With a seizure,
you're into the whole body...

including the brain.

However, with a fit... -


You're pulling the noose tighter,
Mr. Walker.

Old Testament depravity
has no place in this school.

I expected so much more...

especially from you.

Your father died a war hero.

But, Father, I can explain.

Obviously you've a deviant mind.

Now, mortal sins have been committed.

You will attend 6:00 a.m. mass daily...

to restore your spiritual purity...

and you will join the cross-country team
to deal with your...

energy surplus.

Now, Mr. Walker,
this will be your last warning.

Your next stop
will be public school...

where there is
no spiritual safety net.

Public school?

You're not joining
the cross-country team, are you?

Of course I'm not joining.

I was conscripted.

Why do you guys run?
I mean, what's the point?

It's in our blood.
We have to.

All right, gentlemen.

See you at Chorley Park.

All right. Let's go.

We run in cross-country, so...


How in the name of Christ
did I ever end up here?

I ask myself that every day.

Did Father Fitzpatrick say the incident
would go on your permanent record?

He didn't mention it.

It probably won't then.

Do you think anyone knows
what happened at the pool?

Wanker! Wanker!
Wanker! Wanker!

I'd say so.

All right, gentlemen.



I am deeply disappointed.

Shame on all of you!

This boy's father is dead,
and his mother is in the hospital.

Come on.

Leave him alone, Father.
Mr. Walker can stand up for himself.

We all need a little help
standing up, Father.

Leave him alone.

She had a rough time last night.

But don't worry.
We're watching her pretty closely.

Hi, Mom.

How are you feeling?

For a sick person,
I couldn't be any healthier.

Don't worry.

Give me a kiss, babe.

What's wrong?
Doom and gloom?

What was the most embarrassing thing
you ever did?

What happened?

I got caught committing
a venial sin in the pool.

It was an accident, obviously... -

a technical oversight
by the pool's manufacturers...

if you want to blame anyone.

Mom... -




Alice, I need help!


- Alice!
- What's wrong?

Out of the way.
Move, move, move, move.

She's breathing,
but something's happened.

- I'll check her pulse.
- We need oxygen stat!

Stand back.

- Hiya, Ralph.
- Hi, Mr. Karl.

How's your mom?

They say she'll be coming home
any day now.


I know I was here last week...

but are you looking
to buy anything these days?

I'd feel better if your grandparents
came in themselves.

Here's a note from my grandmother.

But call if you want to.

They just don't get out
as much as they used to.

- Yes?
- Good evening, Mr. Collins.

I've come to pick up Claire.

You have? For what?

Our date.

What time would you
like her home by?

Why don't you just wait here
for a minute?


Any of you kids have names?

I'm Ralph.

- Is it true about the pool?
- Yeah.

Because of you,
our swimming lessons were canceled.

Well, they didn't really
have to drain the pool.

After all, the chlorine
would've killed the... -

We need to talk.


I didn't really think you'd show.

- I mean, after the... -
- The what?

- The pool.
- Oh, yeah.

Well... -

I'm sorry, 'cause I really can't
go on a date with you.

- Really?
- I'm becoming a nun.

Just because of the pool?
I mean, it was an accident.

- No, no, of course not.
- Good.

Listen, even if you are
becoming a nun...

I really don't think God would
hold one date against you.

He might.

I'm sorry.

Here, take these.

I got them because the whites
reminded me of the whites of your eyes.


Claire has clearly decided to put
the Great Wall of China defense on me.

I'm positive this whole nun thing...

is basically a way of denying
her true feelings.

- Understandably.
- What are you doing?

I'm trying to wake up my mom.

Sit down.

The doctors are saying...

it'll take a miracle
to wake her up.

A miracle?

I had no idea.

Well, she was already
pretty weak, Ralph.

Christ, Alice.

I'm sorry.

So, St. Francis,
who had grown up very rich...

left Assisi one last time... -

this time, decided to give away everything
he had, even the clothes off of his back.

Soon thereafter, he performed
the miracle of the stigmata.

Just like Christ, he bled.

Do you need to be a saint?

What? For what?

To produce a miracle.


It's not a bad question though.

There are three considerations
necessary for that, Mr. Walker... -

faith, purity and prayer.

For faith...

you need to truly believe
in something...

that doesn't make
any logical sense.

For prayer, as you know, you need to be
in direct communication with God.

And for purity, you need to be
completely free from sin.

So anyone could perform
a miracle?

Technically, yes.

A word with you,
Father Hibbert, if I may.

Certainly, Father.
Excuse me for a minute, gentlemen.


Were you aware
that Nietzsche was a communist?

I can assure you, Father,
your sources are wrong.

Who are you reading?

Stick to the catechism, Father.

Nietzsche has no place
in a ninth-grade religion class...

nor any religion class
in my school.

These students won't survive
unless they follow the rules.

Nietzsche wrote that.

I think there's
some truth to it, Father.

Don't push it, Father Hibbert.

Yes, Father.

Father Hibbert?

What is it, Mr. Walker?

Producing a miracle is possible?

Flying to the moon is possible,
but it's never gonna happen.

I can see what you mean.

Hills on the way over
were pretty brutal.

The workout hasn't started yet.

That's the hill.

All right, gentlemen,
let's get started.

Only 180 training days left
until the Boston Marathon.


about the Boston Marathon...

does everyone from the team
get to go?

Do we really have a chance
of winning?


You mentioned that there was 180 days left
until the Boston Marathon...

and I was wondering if we were all going
because I'd really like to see Boston.

- Will we be fund-raising to pay for it?
- I was kidding.

Boston is one of the world's
most prestigious footraces.

Anyone on this team winning
the Boston Marathon...

would be a miracle to rival
the loaves and fishes.

A miracle?

All right, gentlemen,
on your marks.

Okay then.

Let's run some hills!

- What's wrong with that kid?
- Who knows.

But I hear they're gonna put him into
an orphanage when his mother dies.

Hey, you gettin' a boner
from these ropes, Chester?

- No.
- Me neither.

I was thinking about running
the Boston Marathon.

But you told me
you hated cross-country.

Besides, what makes you think
you can actually run a marathon?

Leave some room
for the Holy Spirit, Mr. Walker.

Ralph. Ralph.

Run Boston, Ralph.

Run Boston,
and it'll be a miracle.

Are you okay?

I was having a moment with God.

He was giving me some instructions.

Mr. Jones, take Mr. Walker
to the nurse's office, please.

Mr. Walker,
an unsolicited visit for once.

I heard about your head injury
from Father Gregg.

We must be vigilant
about temptation.


I just wanted to ask you a question...

since you're the closest one to God
I know around here.

You have my undivided attention.

Father Hibbert told us
that it would take a miracle...

for anyone from the cross-country team
to win the Boston Marathon.

Father Hibbert
would probably know.

Well, my mom needs a miracle
to get out of her coma.


Me winning the Boston Marathon
could be that miracle.

God told me.

God told you?

Today at gym,
when I fell off the ropes.

Did he tell you how to do it?

No. That's why I need your help...

especially with the purity part...

and prayer probably.

I believe that what you're talking about
could be bordering on blasphemy...

even if it is unintentional...

so let's be careful.

God did not ask you...

to win Boston
to get your mother out of a coma.

It doesn't work like that.

- How does it work?
- Why would he ask you?

Well, I don't know.

He just did.

Precisely. You don't know.

It wasn't God.

It was the bump on your head... -

a hallucination at best.

Father, I don't mean
to be disrespectful, but... -

Mr. Walker, trust me. You are not
going to perform any miracles.

You're not running Boston.

Is that clear?

Yes, Father.

Father, forgive me,
for I have lied...

to a priest.

How far have we run, Father?

- One mile.
- That's it?

- Turn back if you want to.
- I can't.

All right, stop.

I heard you talked
to Father Fitzpatrick.

Yes, Father.

Let's get something straight
right here and now, all right?

So there's absolutely no confusion.

Forget about miracles, please.

I would've thought you
of all people... - a priest... -

would believe in miracles.

I'm trying to help you, Ralph.

Father Fitzpatrick is upper clergy,
monsignor material.

Not a man you want
to go up against.

Your friend Nietzsche wrote,
and I quote...

I'm trying to be both.

That's not what Nietzsche meant.

I don't care.

Okay, so the cosmic events
stacked up...

and I was still unsure about it
until my conversation with God.

Unfortunately, you'll still be in a coma
for a few months...

because Boston's not until April...

but that's better
than the rest of your life.

Excuse me for a second, Mom.


What's wrong with your grandmother?

She's not my grandmother.
This is Mrs. Scarlet.

She's a patient here.
I volunteer at the hospital.

Mrs. Scarlet,
Ralph Walker.


Can I talk to you for a second?

I need some advice on religion...

specifically stuff
of a miraculous nature.

Miracles? Why?

So tell me again.
What did God look like?

- Santa Claus.
- Really?

I've been praying since I was five
for a divine tap on the shoulder.

I envy you.

So what's your question?

I just want to make sure
I'm not missing anything.

I do those three things...

and all I have to do
is show up for Boston and I'll win?

Wrong. That's where
the faith part comes in.

You have to believe
that you're gonna win Boston.

I do. God told me.

Do you believe it
right down to your bones?

Just as I suspected.

You see, God won't be in your corner
unless you believe you're gonna win.

There's no way I'll be able
to improve that much.

Well, if you feel that way, Ralph,
of course you won't win.

It's obvious you don't have faith,
and you're done before you started.

Don't you see?

Good point, Collins.
You got me there.

- You'll be in my prayers every night.
- I will?

If I can in any way help
with a miracle...

I might be able to skip purgatory

Chester, pedal harder.

Isn't the idea you run faster?

Listen, I'm doing the best I can...

but I've gotta train my legs
to accept speed...

so give it all you've got.

You're slowing down.
Come on, Ralph!

Chester, stop!

Goddamn it!

Oh, shit.

Sorry. Are you all right?


I don't mean to sound like a know-it-all,
but what are you doing?

There's no way you're gonna finish Boston.
Never mind winning it.

On top of that,
there's the Fitz factor.

Fitz doesn't scare me...

not if I can train harder
than anyone's ever trained before...

even if it means
being dragged behind a bike.

After that,
the miracle is in God's hands.

Don't you see?

Get on the bike.

This is from your garden.

Sorry about this.

I picked it up from Baxter
this morning.

Mrs. Kopolous doesn't want me
to have her dog's business.

When you get out of your coma,
I'm sure you'll hear all about it.

What are you doing?


I read that smell
is the strongest memory.

So you're making your mom
smell that?


Well, I started with
my dad's old sweater.

But that didn't work,
so I moved on.

- What's this?
- I thought it might help with the miracle... -

you know, reading about Catholics
who got it right.


It was an Easter present
from Sister Bernadette last year.

It's been blessed.

I could use that.

I'm trying to be pure.

I'm trying to apply some of the martyrs'
pain techniques to running.

Martyrs were marathoners?

No. Endurance athletes of a sort.

Plus there's stuff
on purity and prayer as well...

which will come in handy
for the miracle.

How could you fail a Latin test?

I don't have the gift of tongues.

Please sign it.

You'd never tell them it was me,
would you?

Oh, my.

Are you all right,
Mr. Walker?

Fine, Father.


What's this for?

I got that from the library.


you look like a runner.

- I do?
- You do.


the marathon is
the ultimate test of fortitude.

Therefore, once the decision to run
has been made...

Father Hibbert?

I think, as a rule, the more tension,
your steps get shorter.

But let's talk about that later.

All right. I'm asking.

What's with the outfit?

Well, just like the martyrs,
I'm embracing pain.

The more pain I can take,
the better runner I'll be.

If I can get used to running
with all this stuff on...

imagine how much better I'll run
when I finally take it off.

Father, how'd you do
in the 1936 Olympics?

What did you say?

You ran the 1936
Olympic Marathon for Canada.

No, I didn't.

- I saw it in a book.
- The book was wrong.

Follow me, gentlemen.
Come along, Mr. Walker.

Ralph, what's wrong?

I'm fine.

Just a little light-headed...

that's all.

You fainted.

Yeah, I'm fine.

I might have run too far today.

You run? Cross-country?

No. The marathon.

The marathon?

I used to train with
the Finnish marathoners.

You were a runner?

No, I was a Canadian nurse
on overseas assignment...

and amateur bobsledder.

If you're serious about training,
you should come over sometime...

and we can lift weights.

Paavo Nurmi did,
and he won nine Olympic gold medals.


You okay?

My glucose levels are down.

Claire, listen.

The book on martyrs has helped,
but I still can't pray.

Well, divine revelations aside,
you've obviously got a serious blockage.

Are you sure you were baptized?

No. And it's kind of hard
to ask anyone right now.

Yeah, sorry.

Why don't you try rubbing your knees
with sandpaper until they bleed...

and then kneeling down
in a pan of alcohol to pray?

What grit paper?

I thought I had a big appetite.

What's with the gluttony?

I'm trying to win
the Boston Marathon.

It's actually true.

You think you can
perform a miracle?



Let's get out of here.

What do you think that kid is doin'?

I have absolutely no idea.

Isn't that the kid
with the mother in the coma?

He was caught strangling
his chicken in a pool.

That's the one.

Ralph, it's not like you're permanently
gonna deep-freeze your dick.

Chester, think about it.

The martyrs swam in the St. Lawrence
during winter to purify themselves.

Why can't I?

Goddamn it.

Well, that's the sin of blasphemy.

- Sorry.
- Come on. Lift the weight!

- Sorry.
- Be a man! Be a man!

Be a man.

You know, you can come
to our house for Christmas.

I'll be fine.

My cousins from Chatham
will be here.

- Are you sure?
- Absolutely.

Besides, I have my race.

Okay, careful.

Visiting hours are over.

My mother's room is in 309.
I know where it is.

As I've already said,
visiting hours are over.

But Nurse Alice always lets me
go in anyway.

I'm not Nurse Alice.
Visiting hours are over.

Please. It's Christmas Eve.

You can see your mother
first thing tomorrow.

Don't tell me you're planning
on running the whole race.

I was gonna ask you
the same thing, granddad.

Runners, on your mark.

Three, two, one... -

Slow down, kid.
You'll never last 10 miles at that pace.

There's only one way to find out.

- Who's that kid?
- I've never seen him before.

I knew you wouldn't last.

How was the race?

- I lost.
- And?

I thought I was gonna win.

I've only got 14 good weeks
of training until Boston.

Fourteen weeks is a lifetime.


- How many miles a week are you running?
- Sixty.

- That's not nearly enough.
- It isn't?

- Longboat said it should be plenty.
- Longboat?

Longboat went insane.

What are you doing for workouts?

Well, every run,
I go as hard as I can...

and I eat five raw eggs
for breakfast...

and I always sleep
with my head facing north.

It's complete idiocy.

I can tell you right now,
you're never gonna win Boston.

But if you still insist on running it,
I'll coach you.

- I knew you'd come around.
- You did? How?

I could see it in your eyes.

Well, then you're as nuts
as Longboat.

I'll coach you
only on one condition... -

you promise never to mention
anything about miracles.

Just mine or all miracles?


I have nothing against miracles
in general.

I think Tennyson got it right
with that one.

Don't you, Mom?

Usually I hate poetry...

but we've been learning
this new poem in English...

and I've decided to memorize
the whole thing...

you know,
just for when I get bored.

Ralph, come quick. I think I found
something that'll help you pray.

Go on, Ralph. Touch it.

Look, I heard the nurses talking.
He just died.

Even the family doesn't know.

I mean, his soul could be
going to heaven right now...

and if you connect with that...

that could break
your whole prayer blockage.

So come on. Close your eyes
and say a Hail Mary.

He's cold.

- I think we missed it.
- Close your eyes.

Hail Mary, full of grace.

Dear God, please tell me there's
a rational explanation for all this.

- You still watching my back?
- Yes.

Keep your arms relaxed.
Shake them out.

- How's your breathing?
- Fine.

Yes. You shouldn't have tried
to stay with me when I surged.

Now you're broken.
Once you break, it's over.

In running, you can never recover.

You can redline all you want...

but you never go past the breaking point
until the final sprint.

All right?

- You okay?
- Fine.


Jog easy for five minutes,
and then we'll try again.

By the way, you have
an incredible capacity for work.

- I do?
- Yes, you do.

Read it.

wife of the late Grant Walker...

passed away on January 7, 1949.

She died of a heart attack.

- Grace Wa"...-
- That's enough.

Obviously, it has come
to my attention...

that your grandparents are dead.

No, they're not, Father.

Are you suggesting
the obituary's fiction?

No, not at all, Father.

Then what am I missing?

I've seen their graves.

Section 16, row 12, plot 6...

Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

Oh, you mean my dad's parents.

I thought you were
talking about my mom's.

And where do they live?


Well, maybe it's time
you visited them.

Maybe it's also time you explained
who wrote all of these notes.

I know you don't have the writing skills
to pull something like this off.

So, what are you giving up for Lent?



If you could do that,
you'd have your miracle.


Fitz knows the notes are fake.

Oh, shit.

You didn't tell him it was me?

Don't be an idiot.

Fitz has no idea who wrote them.

I'm done.

My penmanship will sink me.

I'm in a life that might sink me.

Kid's lookin' better.

At least he's not running backwards.

Good. Stay on pace.

Don't get caught up in the surges.

And don't go into oxygen debt.

Use your arms.

Stride 20 feet.


5:28. Good man.

That's enough for today.

You look great.
How do you feel?

Like I could eat mountains.

I know that feeling.

So why'd you quit running?

Two weeks before Berlin, I got injured.
My knee went out.

There was no way
I was gonna come back in time.

I was 20 years old
and the fastest marathoner in Canada.

I was disappointed, to say the least,
but I knew there'd be other Olympics.

The war came,
and I joined the priesthood.

You joined the priesthood
because of the war?

I hope not.

The day I entered the seminary
was the last I ever ran.


They told me Basilians don't run.

Should've joined theJesuits.

Not one day of missed running
in the last 42.

I now can bench-press
almost a hundred pounds...

and stay in the water
for almost five minutes.

Mom, I think we're closing in
on miracle country.

Sorry it's gonna take so long.

My mom says she saw you
running in Dundas.

Did you jog all the way?


That's a long way...

even to drive.


Your documentation
is very thorough, Father.

Yes, Ralph Walker
has fallen through the net.

But the Children's Aid Society has
no authority to just come in and take him.

Takes time.

A few weeks, at least.

In the meantime,
he stays by himself?

Legally, it's a loophole,
but we follow the law.

What about the boy's welfare?

Is that really what's
at stake here, Father?

What do you mean?

You once had my welfare in mind.

Grade-nine Latin.

49.5 final mark, if I recall.

Surely there was room
in my participation mark.

You sat in the back row.

My welfare never had
the chance to thank you...

for the two months I spent
with you that summer...

rereading the stories
of Caecilius, Lucretia...

and their stupid,
stupid dog Grumio.

Good day, Father.

I still don't think you're ready for
this workout, especially in the dark.

I love running in the rain.
Of course I'm ready.

Besides, I'll be getting
the full moon effect as well.

Forget about the full moon.
You can hardly see the moon.

Dennis Longboat
was institutionalized.

But Canadians ran great under him,
and they've done nothing since.

All right, let's get this over with.

- Ready?
- Yeah.



Reach! Reach, reach!

Reach! Reach!

Good. 4:46. Not bad.


4:51. Very good.


4:33. Number 10.
You're halfway there, Ralph.

Pick it up. You're falling off pace.
Pick it up. Pick it up.


Use your arms. Use your arms,
Mr. Walker. Use your arms.

Stride. Stride.
Old Longboat would be proud.

Use your arms. Use your arms.
Pick it up. Pick it up.

4:53. Take it.

I thought I had one more to do.

You do.

Where are you going?

I think you should do this one
without me.


You'll get more
out of the moon alone.

Stay on pace.

Be a martyr. Be a martyr.

Relax your arms, Ralph.

You heard me.
Relax your arms.

See? I told you it'd work.


That's your fastest mile of the 20.

You were flying, young man!

I know.

It felt great.

All right, stand up,
before you cramp.

All right, jog home. Slowly.

Loosen up your legs
and go straight to bed.

- Yeah.
- I'll have that watch.

Good job.

- Thanks for timing me.
- You're welcome.

You know, I never thought
you'd be able to make that workout.

Thought it would break you.

I don't want to be an orphan.

You'll win Around the Bay
on Sunday.

- I will?
- You will.

What about Boston?

They're entirely different beasts.

Good night, Mr. Walker.

Good night, Father Hibbert.

Back for more, kid?

- I suppose I am.
- Ready! Set!

You'll never finish.

You wanted to see me, Father?

Do you know anything about this?


He's come a long way.

He says that he's going to win
the Boston Marathon.

He also says that it will be
a miracle when he does.

It will be.

- He won't win.
- That's not what I mean.

How long have you been
coaching him?

Well, I wouldn't exactly
call it coaching. More like...

steering him in
the right direction, if you... -


I thought I'd made myself
very clear.

- You did, Father.
- Then?

He needed help.

Ralph Walker does not need...

that kind of help.

He needs to learn
his place in the world.

All of our students
need this from us.

It's what we do as teachers,
Father Hibbert.

It's our gift!

Tell him it's over.

That he can't run Boston?

But, of course, he can.

It's outside of school jurisdiction.
You can't control that.

Watch me.

If Ralph Walker runs Boston...

and is absent from this school...

his career as a student is over
here at St. Magnus.

That's my jurisdiction.

And if you have any part of it...

you are done with this order.

There have already
been discussions.

His mother is dying.

And that's...

the reason he is still
a student here.

I'm trying to help the boy.

He'll be put in a home
as soon as the paperwork is done.

Thank you.

That's all, Father Hibbert.

Yes, Father.

it is paramount that
all distractions disappear.

It's equally important
that all doubts...

be cast aside.

Remember, the marathon
is not without adversity...

You're certainly no martyr.

I'm not even going in deep... yet.

Somehow, when you said massage, I was
thinking of something totally different.

It's only a bruise. In a couple of days
you'll be just fine.

Mr. Walker.

What happened?

- I fell.
- You fell?

Ralph, you're not gonna
be able to run Boston.

The race is 10 days away.
Of course I'm gonna run.

You broke your promise to me.

You said you'd never
mention miracles.

is the miracle my mother will need
to get out of her coma."

- We had a deal, Ralph.
- I didn't break my promise.

I thought you meant
not to mention miracles to you.

Well, you thought wrong.

- That's not fair!
- Listen to me, Ralph.

Father Fitzpatrick says
he'll expel you...

if you run.

I'd never let a priest tell me
whether I can or cannot run.

- I learned that from you.
- You don't know what you're talking about.


I'll sell the rest of the stuff
in the house...

and I'll use the money to pay
for a train ticket to Boston.

But you can't run.

Fitz is gonna
kick you out of school.

Hibbert's right.
Call it off.

I'm running. Besides,
I'm getting kicked out already.

It's only a matter of time,
so I have nothing to lose.

You have everything to lose.

You've set yourself up to be
the laughingstock of Hamilton.

Trust me.
People are talking.

Chester, I honestly don't care
what anybody's saying.

See, that's the difference
between me and you.

Your knee's wrecked,
you can't pray...

you're certainly not pure...

and your mother has been
in a coma for seven months.

She's not coming out.

She is so.

No, she is not.

Goddamn you.

Hey, hey.
Hey! Stop! Break it up!

I forged letters for you!

I put myself on the line!

No, you didn't, Chester!
You've never put yourself on the line!

- Hello?
- Ralph, it's Claire.

I was wondering if you wanted to go
to Holy Thursday mass with me.

You know,
work on your praying?

Holy Thursday.

Let me see.

Yes, I believe I'm free.

Don't you just love Holy Week?

Nice try, Ralph.

Seducing me on Holy Thursday?

Did you think
I was gonna fall for that?

- Honest, I thought you wanted to.
- Me?

Ralph, I'm supposed to be a nun.

And all I was trying to do
was help you with a miracle.

And now look what you've done.

Wake up.

Wake up. Wake up.

Wake up.

Wake up!

Wake up!

Wake up!

Wake up! Wake up!

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Ralph!
What are you doing?

I thought the music
might wake her up.

- Well, it won't.
- I know.

I know.

Oh, honey.

Where's the boy?

- Thank you.
- You're welcome.

I'm sorry about your house.

Yeah, me too.

Could have been worse.

I don't even have
a picture of them.

At least you're not dead.

And don't worry.
Arrangements have been made...

for you to stay temporarily
at Chester's house.

Thanks, Father.

Am I correct in assuming...

that your Boston Marathon
quest is over?

Well, you are in all our prayers.

Thanks, Father.

Don't listen to him.

Fitz was right.

You were right.

She's not coming out
of the coma.

I'm not running.

Goddamn it...

you just burned
your house down.

The least you could do
is run Boston.

What's the point?

Nothing would
piss Fitz off more.


l... -

I believe you can win the race.

Father Hibbert?

Father Fitzpatrick.

I just wanted to let you know
I won't be at school on Monday.

And why is that?

I'm going to Boston.

It's the least I can do for Ralph.

It's why I joined the priesthood... -
to help people.

Best way for you to help Ralph Walker
is to convince him...

that running Boston
is the biggest mistake of his life.

Is it, Father?

We are God's servants.
Chasing after miracles is blasphemy.

You know what?

Before I met that young man...

I didn't much believe in anything.

But now I'm starting to think
that one day, when my time is up...

Did you ever not know
and still jump?

Did you ever just
close your eyes and...

let go?"

Right now, Father, my answer...

So I am closing my eyes.

You're blind.
You're as deluded as Ralph.

And there will be
serious ramifications...

not only in this school,
but within the Basilian order.

I know.

Thank you.

As far as anarchists go...

Nietzsche really had nothing
on Christ.

You know?

All right.

Now boarding on track 14...

train 72 to Buffalo
with connections to Raleigh... -

- Ticket to Boston, please.
- Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland... -

Did you see this?

who recently lost his house to fire...

hopes that his winning ways
continue in Boston.

The race will be broadcast live
on CHCH Radio starting at noon.

Oddsmakers give him
an outside chance at best."

Screw it.

He's got more
than an outside chance.

When we reached Mr. Walker,
he told us that...

who has been coaching Ralph Walker
for the past few months...

says that it is entirely possible...

that the ninth grader...

could win Boston.

Miracles happen every day."

Damn him.


You're wasting energy.
Sit down.

- Father Hibbert, when did you get here?
- Just now.

You think I'd miss the greatest upset
in Boston Marathon history?


What about Father Fitzpatrick?

Yes, well, we'll worry about him later.
Are you ready?


Do you have faith you can win?

I do.

But I'm still not pure,
and I can't pray.

Well, if you promise not to take the lead
until at least halfway...

I can solve your purity problem.

- How?
- Do you promise?


And I mean it this time.

All right.

All I have to do
is hear your confession.

Then I can absolve you
of your sins...

and guess who's pure.

Father Hibbert...

why didn't I think of that earlier?

I could have been sinning
all along.

That's not exactly
in the spirit of reconciliation.

Shall we do it now?


Let's wait until
the last moment possible.

Who knows what sins of thought
might go through my head?

But there's still praying.
I can't do it.

Well, for myself,
in times of greatest stress...

I've always been able to pray.

So I wouldn't worry about it.

Most marathoners will tell you...

around mile 20...

they start praying for any kind
of help they can get.

The weather is unsettled,
with showers threatening...

though for the moment
the skies are holding.

And so...

welcome to the 53rd running
of the Boston Marathon...

one of the world's
most prestigious footraces.

Our field is strong this year...

and, given the current cool conditions,
ripe for a fast time.

They're bunched at the line.

The race is under way.
I repeat, the race is under way.

At five miles, there's a large group
of 20 or so runners.

In there are all the favorites...

including the greatJohn Bannon,
the defending champ...

the Finn, John Halvorson...

Red Sparks from Maryland...

Edward Croggin from California...

Alan Majors from Ireland... -

Excuse me for the interruption...

but this is a special broadcast
of the Boston Marathon...

in which one of our students,
Ralph Walker, hopes to win.

I, for one, think he'll do it.

He won Around the Bay, and there's no
reason why he can't do the same in Boston.

Not a three-mile race,
though the Boston Irish community...

- is showing all sorts of encouragement.
- What's going on, Miss Roddy?

Bannon is running strong.

Who's in there?
Open this door!

Open up!
Who's in there? Open up!

Open up!

Down Beacon Street
toward the Charles River.

It's a drop of 150 feet
that is brutal on tired legs.

Who will survive
this punishment?

I knew he was the forger.

Mr. Jones!

Open up this door

It's early in the game still.

There are 10 runners tightly bunched.

The winner will surely
come from this group.

There are all the usual suspects...

and one surprising addition... -

runner 157.

Let me see.

Ralph Walker from Canada...

age 14... -

But give the lad credit
for gumption in hanging in this long.!

The runners arejust approaching
the first water station on West Central.

We're eight miles into this thing, folks,
and Bannon is leading... - not surprising... -

closely followed by Fox and Monahan
and this kid Walker.

- The sun has come out again.
- Mr. Jones!

Relatively flat for the next few miles.

It's no use.

The PA room used to be the school safe.
You'd have to dynamite it open.

Don't tempt me.
Get it open.

The runners are approaching
11 miles...

and are about to round the Natick
town commons with Bannon in the lead.

Halvorson and Monahan are still very much
in the race, as is Ralph Walker.

You look fantastic. Be patient.

Be patient!
Stay exactly where you are!

You heard right, folks.
I can't believe it either.

Ralph Walker is running
with the leaders.

The youngest previous winner
of this race was Edmond Davy...

who was 20 years old.

The weather has cleared,
but rain still threatens.

The pack continues to remain
tightly bunched...

and there's plenty ofjostling
for position.

I'vejust got word that Fox has bumped
Walker in an attempt to get to the lead.

The kid was hit hard
but has surged back...

and is trying to put some distance
between himself and the rest of the field.

Bannon needs to go with him.

We're too far into this race
for anyone to be pretending.

Ralph Walker is definitely a threat.

He wasn't on anyone's radar
before the race...

and he's leading
the Boston Marathon.

A 14-year-old
is leading the Boston Marathon.!

Bannon is closing the gap
and is now back with Walker.

Fox has dropped off and appears done,
as has Monahan.

Folks, it's down to two as we approach
Heartbreak Hill at 19 miles.

This is the spot that Bannon
made his move last year.

It looks like Bannon is moving.

His head is down,
and he's starting to press.

Bannon is looking very strong,
and Walker is now struggling.

This could be the race.

Walker is definitely in trouble.
Bannon is pressing.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
don't redline.

You can do it, Ralph.

You can do it, Ralph!

You can do it! It'll be a miracle!

Come on! Run, Walker! Run!


- Walker's marathon looks to be over.
- Run!

He can't have anything left
at this point.

Wait.! It appears that Walker
is not quite finished.

Incredibly, he's coming back.!

Folks, I can't believe it.

Walker's with Bannon again,
and now they're through the hills.

We only have two miles left, and Walker
and Bannon are matched step for step.

Reports are that both runners look
exhausted but are not slowing down.

They're coming up
Coolidge Corner.

The crowds have increased
as we approach the finish.

Walker has pulled even again.

He's not backing down one bit
from the greatJohn Bannon.

And they are rounding
the final corner.!

Here we go, folks.!
365 yards to go.!

They're dead even on the 26th mile.!
Who would believe it?

Run, you bastard. Run.

The kid has got legs.
But can he hold on?

This just might be the closest
Boston finish in history.!

Walker and Bannon,
step for step.!

Bannon's straining.!
I've never seen him look this tired.!

The crowds are going crazy.!
The noise is deafening.!

They've been waiting
hours for this.!

Walker surges.!
Walker surges.!

He has a half step on Bannon.!

No.! Bannon answers.!
They're dead even again.!

And neither one is breaking.!

Bannon is giving everything he's got,
and Walker is still not letting up.!

100 yards to go, and Walker
has now taken the lead.!

- They're closing in on the finish line.!
- Win it.

They're coming down the stretch,
ladies and gentlemen.!

Who would believe it? Bannon's never
been tested like this before.

Fifty yards to go.!

Bannon now slightly ahead.
Does Walker have one last surge?

Walker giving it everything he has!

The runners appear utterly drained...

but they are sprinting...

willing themselves to the finish line.!

This is now a battle of wills,
sheer determination.!

Bannon's starting to move.!

Bannon is starting to move.!

Walker's got to go now
ifhe has any hope of winning.!

Bannon still has the lead
and is driving furiously for the line.!

And John Bannon wins Boston.!

John Bannon wins
the Boston Marathon.!

The 1953 champion repeats
in spectacular fashion.!

The laurel wreath is his.!

It took 26 miles to decide it...

but we finally have a winner.!

Oh, my goodness.!

I can't remember a marathon
ever coming down to the wire like this.!

You havejust been a part
of sporting history.!

You did us all proud.

I lost.

You made us feel like
we were all part of something big.

That doesn't happen every day.

I believed I was gonna win.

Ralph Walker defied me,
and you defied me.

Well, he followed his heart.

Walker! Walker!

I spoke to the press this morning
about your instrumental role...

in Mr. Walker's marathoning success.

Probably wouldn't look too good
if I had to turn around and tell them...

you kicked St. Magnus's
most famous student out.

No, probably not.

I think he may still
need my prayers.

We all do, Father.

We all do.

I still can't believe
you actually did it.

Me either.

I never thought I'd have suspension
on my permanent record.

Are you all right?

Somehow I think it all
mostly worked out...

even though my mom didn't
come out of her coma.

My mom says we could adopt you.

I'm too old to be adopted, Chester.

Yeah, I suppose we all
eventually pass that point.

Thanks, Chester.

You're welcome.

I'm going straight to hell
because of you.


- We could... -
- I'm kidding.

Necking is a venial sin,
not a mortal one.

- God works in mysterious ways.
- He does.

- Father Hibbert!
- Mr. Walker.

I was wondering what
your running plans are for the future.

Well, what are your coaching plans?

That depends.

Well, the Olympics are next year,
and I suppose I intend to win them.

Well, if we're not chasing after miracles,
what's the point, eh?

I couldn't agree with you more.