RunAway Challenge: Burnley filmmaker shoots documentary on Clarets fan's incredible Premier League journey

Preston Hartley
Preston Hartley
Share this article

A Burnley filmmaker has teamed up with Scott Cunliffe – the Clarets fan running to every Premier League away game this season –  to film an absorbing documentary about the motivations behind a challenge that has gripped the nation.

Preston Hartley (22) could not believe what he was reading when he came across a news article detailing Scott's incredible Runaway Challenge.

"I was coming back up home for a family wedding and I was reading the Burnley Express, looking to see if there was any news. I came across Scott's story and couldn't believe what he was doing.

"At first I thought it reminds me of Forest Gump. Then I wanted to know why he was running. There had to be more to it. So I reached out to Scott and asked him if he would be willing to do a documentary.

"I wanted to go deeper and find out the little things behind. A lot of things have happened in Scott's life and it was hard to cover them all in a 10-minute film but there is a lot of stuff there."

The 10-minute documentary – entitled 'Runaway' – delves deeper into the reasons behind the 44-year-old's decision to embark on a season-long 3,000-mile journey.

Scott Cunliffe is running to every one of Burnley's Premier League away games this season

Scott Cunliffe is running to every one of Burnley's Premier League away games this season

It chronicles his struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression and how bottling up his emotions led to a mind full of dark thoughts.

Scott talks about how football and running helped him discover an element of escapism and how as well as raising money for charity, he wants this challenge to act as a catalyst for others to find positive mental and physical well-being.

Preston said: "I had already done projects based around young men's mental health so to get Scott's perspective – somebody who had found light at the end of tunnel – was refreshing.

"Scott's running not to get away as such but he's using it as a coping mechanism. I thought that was a good question to ask. Are we running away from our problems? Running is what makes Scott happy but what is it that makes us happy?

Preston's 'Runaway' documentary offers a fascinating insight into Scott's motivations

Preston's 'Runaway' documentary offers a fascinating insight into Scott's motivations

"Lots of things happen in life that people need to face. What is it that's in your way and how are you going to deal with it? That's what we wanted to look at."

Preston was born in Orange County, California, before his parents moved to Burnley when he was aged two. A former pupil at Blessed Trinity RC College, he moved down to Surrey to further his education and has continued living there.

"I still have family in Burnley so I try and get up as often as possible. I shot quite a bit of the documentary while I was home at Christmas. And then the bit's at the away grounds like Arsenal when I was in Surrey.

"It's been a long project. I started planning it in September so it's taken around six months. I've been getting lots of positive messages from friends and family. The feedback's been very positive. I just want to get it out in front of as many people as possible now, help stir the conversation.

"People keep asking me about my next project is but I'm not entirely sure at the moment. I'm waiting for something to come to me. Sometimes you can lose inspiration and energy. maybe something to do with sport, masculinity and British health."

More of Preston's work can be viewed here.

Anybody wish to donate to Scott's Runaway Challenge should click here.