Episode 585: Three Theories of “Brittany Runs a Marathon”

On the Overthinking It Podcast, we tackle “Brittany Runs a Marathon.”

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Peter Fenzel and Matthew Wrather strap on their running shoes and take off to overthink Brittany Runs a Marathon, a sentimental movie about self-improvement, a movie about individual decision making within an unhealthy environment, and a movie about mutual empathy and community.

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6 Comments on “Episode 585: Three Theories of “Brittany Runs a Marathon””

  1. Margo #

    I do praise the film for NOT having Brittany run the Marathon with a stress fracture (spoiler alert!), but rather delaying her goal for a year. In this way the film wasn’t another Triumph Against All Odds trope.

    The issue of weight and exercise is too complex and fraught to get into here. But it can be said that although lots of exercise may not impact one’s weight, it will often have an effect on body composition, which can make a person smaller while maintaining the same mass.

    This film was flawed, but I loved it anyway even I have run only half-marathons.


  2. MikeO #


    A lot of dancing around the elephant in the room (pun intended). Talking about chubby people like they’re a potential persecuted minority. We’re not far from PC gone mad where an alphabet group being assigned to them. The “BLT community” Big, Large, and Tyrannosaurus.
    It’s true different factors contribute to unhealthy weight gain – wrecked sleeping schedules due to work, hormones in foods and even water, food designed to be garbage, 24/7 propaganda blasting to consume consume consume. But as we all know, all struggle is class struggle, and until somesort of Communist Revolution remedies working conditions, and predatory capitalism… just put the burger down.

    I think the reverse of an invitation is a restraining order.

    p.s. Smokers are another group of people seen as having unhealthy lifestyles, that have their own medical complications, but can also have perfectly fine people living long lives without complications. But there hasn’t been a rise in sympathy I don’t think. Just curious.


    • John C Member #

      You’re…joking, right? Smokers got help for decades via regulations, subsidized programs, and products to ease addiction in an era where it was assumed that self-destructive people were on their own AND the smokers collectively fought (and still fight) that help tooth-and-nail for decades, because how dare anybody interfere with their lung cancer-y enjoyment. And yet, we still don’t mock them the way we do overweight people. There is no “emphysema-ass” insult. There are no comedians or blog commenters insisting that smokers just don’t have enough self-control and that they should just “put the coffin nail down.”
      And sure, some people survive it, but that’s like saying we shouldn’t have doctors because some people survive illness and injury.
      Meanwhile, we’re just now coming around to the understanding that the food industry has been using exactly the same tactics against us that the tobacco industry did then. But there’s no regulation, no programs, and many jokes from all sides.
      About the only thing you could possibly mean by “sympathy” is that people are willing to let people overeat in their houses but not smoke, and it should be pretty obvious why those two are different: Eating burgers doesn’t splatter fat all over the house and other guests.


      • Three Act Destructure #

        Ahem. I refer you to the well-worn adage, “if it doesn’t get all over the place, it doesn’t belong in your face.”


  3. John C Member #

    Every time I hear about someone running a marathon, I wonder if they’ve stopped teaching the Marathon story in schools, since that doesn’t end so well. Unrelated, the other day I saw someone with a “27.4” bumper sticker, replacing the name of the race with “I got lost.”
    Regarding Amazon dramedies, I’m only about midway through, but I recommend “Undone,” which is…I don’t know, a little of everything? Hallucinogenic science-fiction that might instead be the descent into mental illness, but with the scenes all rotoscoped. I’m not sure if this is some algorithm-generated anomaly or if Jeff Bezos watching “Russian Doll” and a bunch of cartoons and demanded that someone immediately make him something like that without the New York of it all, but it’s keeping my interest…
    And the mentioned “I saw an MRI, therefore we’re all just automata” people are terrible, especially since they persist after the study showing that same neuroscience can’t make sense of a far simpler microprocessor. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/06/can-neuroscience-understand-donkey-kong-let-alone-a-brain/485177/


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