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Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019)


Jillian Bell plays Brittany, a hard-partying, underemployed, unhealthy 27-year-old New Yorker. Brittany is told by her doctor to get healthy and falls into the cheapest form of exercise, running. What starts with a single block continues to grow until sights are set on completing the New York City Marathon. I have never run a marathon. I completed a half and was training for a full when I suffered an injury and the world shut down from Covid in March 2020; my longest run was 23.1 miles.

I connected with the running portion of the storyline. If you have never trained for an endurance event you may not understand the regiment of training it demands. You need large chunks of time most days each week by yourself. It takes sacrificing a lot of other parts of your life. Missing a workout often leads to outsized emotional reactions. The movie captured this well, especially with Brittany’s major setback. Like Brittany when I had to stop running it was devastating. Time off didn’t solve my issues and I had to go through PT. Brittany’s reactions to those that care about her and the new people she meets are a realistic portrayal of someone who just lost a part of themselves.

Outside of running the movie has a pleasant ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ message. It is reflected in multiple characters, from those that seem to have a perfect, well-put-together life, to those that have tried to change but ultimately accepted themselves for who they already are. It does not break new ground, but it does show that there is no one right way to live or one ideal life.

This movie was more heartwarming than I expected. There is plenty of laughter to break up the drama and keep your spirits lifted. I connected to it because of running, but I think many people who have tried to make significant positive changes in their own lives will relate to the struggle of facing setbacks on their journey. This is a fun, light, 104 minutes of drama and comedy.

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