Running is the star of two new movies that bring the discipline and exhilaration of running to the big screen.

While the two movies are extremely different, they capture some of that “aha” moment when someone realizes they’ve crossed the invisible line between struggling to be active and enjoying their physical activity.

“Brittany Runs A Marathon,” based on a real-life story of transformation and growth, follows a year in the life of 20-something Brittany, whose post-college life consists largely of junk food, bars and a dead-end job. When warned by a doctor that she should lose weight to improve her health, she decides to start running for exercise.

Like many of us, Brittany chose running as her primary exercise because it was cheaper than joining a gym, required little in the way of equipment and could be done at any time. That pragmatic approach meant that running wasn’t something she loved doing at first, and many runners will empathize with her awkward and painful introduction to the sport.

Also like many of us, Brittany finds that joining a running group provides the camaraderie and accountability she needed to take running seriously, not just to get in shape but because it’s something she’s grown to love. She’s also able to take the discipline that running has instilled and apply it to other aspects of her life.

While “Overcomer” is also about a young woman transformed by running, the movie has a totally different vibe. Instead of a party girl trading late nights at the bar for early morning runs, “Overcomer” tells the story of an asthmatic would-be cross country athlete who trains hard, runs strategically and finds herself qualifying for the state championship.

The scenes of Hannah Scott pushing her limits and discovering her innate athleticism, despite a less-than enthusiastic coach, will be relatable for runners who went out for high school sports.

The common theme of both movies is that even the least likely person has an inner athlete, and finding that athlete can be a rewarding (and entertaining, for the audience) experience.

Bernice Torregrossa:

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