Brittany Runs a Marathon is an American comedy released on Amazon Prime Video that tells the (true) story of an overweight woman who decides to change her life by running the New York marathon.
It’s a classic before/after transformation movie that aims to inspire or motivate people to achieve their goals. And actually reading, watching and sharing success stories can inspire people to make changes in their lives.
This type of approach always existed: you can find it in magazines in the form of advice from celebrities, in product advertising, in reality shows, in hashtags and of course also in movies like these.
The problem though is that we continue to share the same story over and over again
You can be a runner and fat
All these stories have in common the idea that if you follow the same thing that a person does, you will get the same result. That is, a perfect life and body.
The story that is told then is that fat is an obstacle to overcome in order to achieve glory goals, such as running. Because you start fat, slow, sweaty and out of breath and become a racing car only if you become slender and radiant.
This movie therefore continues to tell the story that you cannot be, for example, a runner and fat. And this means that every fat runner continues to live experiences of shame, of exclusion only because they are daring to occupy a post in a sport that is “for skinny”.
If, on the other hand, we started to tell different stories about how it feels to be a runner in bodies of all kinds, we could open up new possibilities for inspiration. Like the aspiration to run a marathon without thinking that there must necessarily be a before/after or a change of body to do it. It’s not your body that is bad: the bad ones are the stereotypes and prejudices that make you believe that the final goal of the race must necessarily be physical transformation.
Movement = Weight Loss?
In this sense, the movie also spreads the bad idea that the need for movement starts from the obsessive attempt to lose weight in the shortest possible time, also limiting food. And this is something that cannot work.
People who start a journey in the race manage to keep this habit steady not because they think it helps to lose weight, but because they like it, they like how it makes them feel, they like how it clears their mind. They are people who don’t think of movement as a form of punishment or as a way to transform their body for little money. Otherwise they would hate it and give up soon after.
Being fat is not a starting point but a state of being. There is an entire community of fat and proud runners. People who run 5K, half marathons or full marathons. And they are people who don’t run to prove something to someone. That they don’t run to repair something about themselves – even if the world continues to treat them as if they should.
Their body is like this and they don’t have to lose weight to gain love, respect and humanity and a place in a sport that they love.