Solo: Trail Runner Toni McCann’s Lockdown Journey

Who are we without other people? Follow one athlete’s journey through lockdown.

Produced by James Walsh and Damien Schumann |

Toni McCann disrupted the world of trail running in 2018, when she lined up for her first-ever marathon, against the strongest field of mountain runners every assembled, and dominated the field to a podium finish.

Overnight she became a professional athlete and has excelled ever since. 2020 was a year with much anticipation with her being a favourite to win the World Skyrunning Series, but as with the rest of the world, COVID-19 eradicated those plans. Instead, she found herself housebound for 2 months, alone, unable to practice her trade and passion, and without access to the people closest to her, while the South African economy was thrown into turmoil.

Through an intimate video diary, Toni records her thoughts and experiences as she grapples with the loss of her identity as a runner, lonesomeness and the craving for human connection, her privilege as a middleclass citizen, and the uncertainty of what the future holds.

What is revealed is the tight bond within the running community and her family, and how this support structure is the foundation for something far more powerful than just running. It is a very personal, yet relatable account of the pressures of isolated living, and attempting to flatten the curve for the greater good.

Here’s what Toni had to say as to why she wants to support BRAVE girl:

“COVID-19 and the lockdown in South Africa took away our freedom and independence, and in doing so prevented me from doing what I love – running and running free, without care. BRAVE girl is an NPO that aims to inspire and empower girl leaders through giving them the opportunity to travel and explore wild places. With this film bringing to light the ability of nature to heal, empower and fulfil in my own life, it encouraged me to reach out and support an organisation that aims to afford girls and women the same opportunity.

The video diary gave me a voice when I felt that I had no one to turn to – and that is what BRAVE is for these girls. It gives them a voice to tell their stories in a safe space. It gives them the opportunity to learn new skills and build confidence. It gives them a community to belong to and network with. If this film can help support other girls and women in being able to explore wild places as I am so privileged to do, and raise awareness for an organisation doing great things in underserved communities, then it will have served a purpose greater than I could have ever hoped and for that I am truly grateful.”

Directed and edited by Damien Schumann
Camera by Toni McCann and Damien Schumann
Produced by James Walsh and Damien Schumann

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