HOLLY WAINWRIGHT: We got it all wrong about 'Marathon Mum'.

For a few days in the middle of a torrid news-cycle, the Internet’s collective wrath was unleashed on a man who took his children to cheer on their mother as she won a half-marathon in Brazil. 

The bait was a short video of Luciana Grandi Lourenção nearing the finish line in her town's running festival. Her husband Pedro sees her and ushers their two little girls onto the road to greet her and Luciana swerves past them to win her race.

Are you one of the more than nine million people who have watched it? It looks like this:

Watch: Marathon mum goes viral over TikTok video. Post continues after video.

Video via TikTok @sinomar_reporter.

The Internet had a great many thoughts about this moment, and none of them were very positive about Pedro. 

What a clueless, entitled prick, the Internet said. 

How indicative of marriage, the Internet said, that this man was so eager to be done "babysitting" after an hour and 40 minutes, he couldn't wait to turn those kids back over to their mother.


How typical, the Internet said, that this doofus thinks the kids should trump any further achievement of this hard-working woman

Pah. We all said. Men. Am I right?

Well, looks like we weren't right, this time.

Because the actual, real life people behind this short clip have posted their own response, in the form of a video.

In it, Luciana said that she asked Pedro to do exactly what he did. Bring the girls, have them run out and maybe finish the race with her. She thought it would be good for them to see their mum achieve a thing like that.

"We decided to take the girls to the race so that I could cross the finish line with them," she says. "I wasn’t competing for money, it was a race in my city, and I thought it would have been really nice and cool to create this moment with the children."

What Luciana didn’t expect was that she was going to be in the lead. But, as she saw the finish line, she was. And so the happy family moment had to wait.

"I needed to get there, and that was it. I saw the girls quickly, but I couldn’t stop. The children understood and were not upset. I explained to them that it is very tiring and difficult to run a half marathon."

Yes, it is, Luciana. It is tiring and difficult. And so is the Internet. 

As for Pedro, he was understandably a little defensive. "They kept calling me a saboteur," he says. "But they should know that it was this 'saboteur' who made two calls so that Luciana could participate in the race, since registration had ended.


"I did everything to get her to go. On Sundays, when she goes to train, we are without her, and I am the one who stays with the girls, and I do so with the greatest pleasure."

So. The Internet stands down, other than in the musty-smelling corner of it that wonders what kind of mother should be doing something as selfish as running. They’re still arguing about how Luciana could have run past her children at all, without stopping to, I don’t know, wipe a nose? Produce a Tiny Teddy from her sports bra? We’ll ignore them. 

The rest of us, the ones who saw that video and immediately coded it as an example of a man stepping into a woman’s space that was her own, and bringing focus back to him and her parenting responsibilities, why did we see that?  

Why were we - and I include myself, who was certainly guilty of an eye roll -  so quick to condemn Pedro? Why did we instantly think the worst of a man who was actually just doing something that he and his wife had agreed on, together?

Well, I can’t possibly imagine. 

Could it be that we have an extremely well-honed muscle-memory of all the times our achievements have gone uncelebrated because they were inconvenient for a man? 


Could it be because we are feeling a little 'sensitive' at the moment? 

After all, a famous and influential man just went viral with his graduation speech to female graduates tell them not to strive for any achievements of their own, but to strive instead for "marriage and children.". 

Could it be that because right now, every time we engage with the news it can feel like a barrage of Things Men Have Taken From Women -  from her dignity to her job to her sense of safety to her children to her life? 

Is it because we have been very well trained, from an early age, to understand that our choices need to fold neatly in with others’ needs, whereas often, our brothers were told to dream big and to suck what they wanted out of life?

Is it because, back on the domestic front, mothers - and mothers saw a mother running that race - there was that time you got a new job but the first question was "but what about childcare?"

Or because of all those times you’ve been told how lucky you are to have a supportive partner who knows where the school gates are and can cook a meal so that you can, too, exist outside the home?

Is it because of the narrative that taking time for yourself - for a walk, a coffee with a friend, for a meal with co-workers, for a gym class, for… half-marathon training, has often been met with the immediate question of when it’s "their turn" to have some "time off" from their family?


Is it because of the popping-off Whatsapp chats about school sport, birthday parties, gifts for family, pick-ups, drop-offs, that take up so much space in many women’s phones and heads, but not in men’s?

Oh, sorry, I got carried away. I stopped looking at this one particular video of these actual people in isolation and began to see it as one piece of a mosaic called 'Primary carer' in which many women find themselves the dominant colour.

It’s a mistake, but it’s an understandable one.

The Internet ran to defend a woman who didn’t need defending. We have a bad habit of doing that. But maybe that’s because we don’t feel defended, supported and prioritised out here in real life. 

We have been well trained that in a scrap for resources - particularly the resource of time for something that’s our own - we need our elbows out and our teeth bared.

Apologies, Luciano and Pedro. You totally had this. 

Maybe we’re just a bit sensitive at the moment. 

Feature image: TikTok @sinomar_reporter + Instagram @lu_grandi.

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