Typically, runners are inspired by documentaries about runners and their journey to finish a race. Marathon, a mockumentary from Hot Tub Mimosa, LLC, is about 5 amateur runners training for a marathon in the desert, and it is NOT one of those kind of movies.
If you’ve ever watched movies like “Best in Show” or “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” you’ll understand how “Marathon” works. This is a spoof of a documentary, so you’re never supposed to take it seriously. It’s really pretty humorous because as runners, we’ve all encountered, (or dare I say kinda BEEN) these runners in real life, though clearly not as exaggerated.
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Our cast of marathon participants is:
- Emilou – A novice more interested in eating snacks than doing physical activity
- Abbie – The new mom trying to fit in runs while she cares for her infant son Miles
- Ryan – The “expert” runner who thinks he’s better than everyone else
- Shareef – The African American who is constantly being racially targeted by the police
- Jenna – The girl who wants to break the world record by running a marathon dressed as a piece of fruit
The marathon is organized by Ed Clap, a shoe store owner trying to keep the Devil’s Canyon Marathon alive in it’s 15th year despite the fact that it’s a small fish in a big pond. He’s developing a shoe to rival Nike called The Achilles. He’s also provided race shirts that are only available in a 3xl and medals that showcase MMA fighters, as he’s clearly cutting some corners for his little event.
In my opinion, the funniest one to watch is Ryan, who seems to think he’s an elite runner and is constantly fighting with camaraman Jeff because he thinks he should be treated like a celebrity. He really thinks he knows everything about running, but it’s clear that he’s full of it when you see him sitting over a table of crab the night before a half marathon because all runners have to “crab load.” Don’t you know that?! Later, he manages a fall that sends him into a spiral, and by the end of the film, he’s walking around on a 2×4 because someone stole his crutches. He shows up at the race, beyond upset to be a “spectator,” (the horror, ew!) and he boos participants and holds up signs that say things like “Why Should You Get To Run?”
I related to Abbie probably more than one should, as it’s a painful reminder or what training for a race is like when we have small children to care for and we want to do something for ourselves. She runs around her block with a baby monitor and become increasingly loopy until she’s doing things like filling Miles’ baby bottle up with Gatorade and running with an eye bandage. Trust me, you just gotta see it for yourself. Her husband, while well-meaning, is completely clueless as to how to help her.
The storyline with Jenna, dressed in a banana costume through most of the movie, was probably the oddest one. She finds herself competing against an actor named Ben who is also in a banana costume working with Dole Fruit. They hate each other and then fall in love, and it’s a love-hate thing through the whole rest of the movie. The runner in me could not get over how she could run a marathon in the desert in a full banana costume and a LONG SLEEVED SHIRT!! My hero.
The other characters were great as well, though I felt bad for Shareef in a post-Aubrey Maud world. He’s clearly the best athlete of the movie, but he’s constantly sidelined. Emilou is not the athlete of the movie, but she gets in her marathon in her own way.
By the time race day comes, Ed gives his marathon announcements from atop a tiny step stool and tells runners that reception is spotty on the course, so if anyone should get hurt or need help, they should try to “get hurt between mile 6 and 13.”
I won’t spoil the ending for you, but I will tell you that not all of the marathoners finish successfully. I will tell you it was a great spoof comedy for runners and maybe even non-runners will get the inside jokes.