UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A sports documentary about a legendary track coach who stepped up to help his community in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, a film that was made by students in John Curley Center for Sports Journalism at Penn State, is now being distributed nationally by kweli.TV.
“Running Home” tells the story of Tony Ruiz, one of the most talented runners to come out of the powerhouse Westinghouse High School program in Brooklyn in the late 1970s. Ruiz, a son of a Puerto Rican immigrants who grew up in New York and on the Caribbean island, lost his sense of purpose after the 1980 Olympic boycott.
A long road to redemption culminated when his relatives' homes were destroyed by Hurricane Maria, and Ruiz, the distance coach of the Central Park Track Club, came to their aid.
The film was directed by senior Paddy Cotter and produced by John Affleck, the Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society and director of the Curley Center. Alumna Giana Han served as associate producer and created the animation for the film.
Founded by media entrepreneur DeShuna Spencer, kweliTV is dedicated to celebrating global black culture. "Running Home" is available through a subscription to the service or as a single rental.
“We’re incredibly pleased to partnering with kweliTV. I have a subscription to the service and am enjoying the films in its catalogue very much,” said Affleck. “We’re also tremendously grateful to be able to share the story of Tony Ruiz at this difficult time. Tony is a guy who has come through all sorts of adversity and still wants to give back. He’s a true model for this moment."