Office Race (2023) Ending Explained – Analyzing Pat Cassidy’s character arc


Office Race Plot Summary

Office Race is not your usual office comedy. In fact, it is not an office comedy at all. The movie was recently released on Comedy Central and stars Joel McHale and Beck Bennett in central roles as competing office workers.

Office Race largely takes place outside a conventional office setting and centres instead on a marathon track. The film focuses on Pat Cassidy (Bennett) and how his self-discovery supercharges his desire to do something he never thought he could.

While there isn’t a lot of nuance to Office Race, the film is certainly enjoyable with some solid jokes and narrative momentum. In this ending explainer, we analyze Pat’s character and what his epiphany means in the context of Office Race. Beware, spoilers ahead!

How does Pat begin his journey of self-discovery?

Pat Cassidy is an unmotivated office drone with very little to live for in life. He hardly puts in any effort at his 9-5 corporate job, while his deadbeat relationship with his girlfriend Pat (they ironically share the same name) doesn’t give him joy. Dave, who is Pat’s best friend, is perhaps his only escape from a morbid existence.

In comparison, Pat’s coworker at the office, Spencer, lives life to its optimal level. Not only is Spencer adored and admired by his co-workers, but he is also very attractive and has an active lifestyle. The two stand beside each other in total contrast.

They work together at Aardvark, which is a digital lending platform. Liz, their boss, gets a promotion and has to choose her successor before leaving. Unsurprisingly, she goes for Spencer and warns Pat that his lack of effort will cost him this job if he doesn’t pull his socks up soon. Their first job together is meeting with Rita, advertising head of Green Built Energy. This deal could potentially be a big one for Aardvark. So during the meeting, Pat lies about his “passion” for running. 

Spencer very cleverly brings up running a marathon for charity when he sees the tattoo of a date on Rita’s arm. It is suggested that she is a survivor of some sort of cancer. The Sweet Peach Marathon is the annual city marathon that both Spencer and Rita participate in. Pat is unwittingly pushed into committing and this begins his journey of self-discovery.

What happens to Pat?

Pat meets Rita and her marathon running team sometime later. It includes Harry, a marathon walking world champion, his girlfriend Kiki, Don, and Dr Julia Hall. Pat met Julia in the hospital where he was taken after being hit by a car at the start of the run. 

Pat’s aversion to running puts him in all sorts of trouble. He struggles to keep pace with the rest of the team, although he strikes up a good chemistry with Julia. Pat decides to abandon the marathon team but Spencer coerces him into coming along for the sake of the deal with Rita.

Everything changes for Pat when he has a great bonding experience with the team during a “Beer Mile” event at the stadium. That truly establishes him as a part of the group. When he gets back home, Pat has an uncalled-for surprise waiting for him. 

He finds Pat, his girlfriend, cheating on him with none other than Spencer. Pat tries to keep up with his new love for running the next morning when he runs into Julia. They chit-chat about ordinary things but most importantly, bad-mouth Spencer. She casually mentions that Pat could beat Spencer in a marathon race since he isn’t really a runner and Pat has made great strides in his new hobby.

Pat walks into the office with confidence and berates Spencer publically for cheating with his girlfriend. He also challenges Spencer to beat him at the marathon race, something that Spencer is surprised by. He accepts the challenge and ups the ante. Spencer transfers all the money he has raised for his charity to an escrow account managed by their co-worker, Olivia. Pat is shocked to learn that Spencer has raised over a hundred grand in donations, while he himself has only a partly couple hundred dollars. But he notices that the marathon team has raised almost a hundred grand and matches Spencer’s number. He bets all of it, knowing well that he could as easily lose every penny.

But the moment gets the better of Pat and he now has an uphill task ahead of him. Pat gets to work for the next three months. He trains regularly with the group and forms a friendship with Julia. As his bond with the group gets stronger, Pat loses touch with Dave. Spencer gets obsessed with the prospect of beating Pat and begins to drink a lot of Nitro Venom, a dubious energy drink that drastically changes how he looks. He also finds out about Pat’s fraud and promptly fires him from work.

How does Pat find redemption?

Pat has no other option but to confess his crimes to the group, who feel betrayed and sever all ties with him. After that confession, Pat feels lonelier than ever in his life. He has lost all his motivation to work for the marathon. However, he sees a photo of the group posted by Julia and that inspires him. Pat believes this is his chance for redemption and meets up with the group on the day of the marathon. They are not very receptive of Pat but he says his piece anyway. He explains to them that before he met the group, he had a fear of commitment. Pat used to put up walls around him, not letting anyone in and hiding from everyone how he truly felt inside. 

But being a part of the group changed him as a person and motivated him to be better and care for others. As a goodwill gesture, Pat makes up the entire charity money raised by the group. He sells his car and liquidates literally all his savings. Seeing this huge effort, the group forgives him and they prepare for the race.

Spencer shows up literally looking like a ghost. His white, pale skin and thinning hair are the side effects of consuming nitro venom in huge quantities. He is keen on winning the race, although Julia grounds Pat when they start. She says Pat must follow his method and take the marathon slowly, keeping the pace he has been working on for months. 

The race has many distractions like a cameo from Sal Vulcano (Impractical Jokers) as a participant, and a famous football player who wins the walking marathon when he learns there is a huge prize money. Spencer and Pat keep up the pace for almost 20 miles, after which they “hit the wall.” This is a phrase in running that refers to a phase when the body of the runner has reached its saturation point and can only move forward with ultimate willpower.

Spencer has completely lost his hair and is looking like a ghost due to the venom. He collapses near the touchline and involuntarily defecates uncontrollably. Pat knows that he will win the race. But he spots Harry and Kiki on the ground.

The latter carried an injury into the marathon and used a wheelchair to finish the race. But in the middle, she went straight into Harry. Rita too had problems finishing the race as she had lost all her stamina. Pat waits for the entire group, sans Julia – who has already finished the race – and they reach the finish point together.

Pat wins the bet and the respect of his group. By doing the unthinkable, he has redeemed himself and proven everyone around him who doubted his ability to do something special in life. At the end of the film, it is also hinted that Spencer died due to a heart attack and that Pat and Julia got together. 


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