Thursday, October 15, 2009

Biggest Loser Alumni Run the Motor City

Just call it Motor City marathoning with former fat folks. Maybe not the nicest way to refer to former cast members of The Biggest Loser, but face it, they once were lively spirits busting out of their clothing and barely able to make it through a workout of easy proportions. Now with their slimmer selves they're out and about, working out, helping out and rocking out. And this weekend it's all about running a half marathon. I was excited to hear that Losers from seasons past--and not just a scant few--would be racing on my hometown stomping grounds this weekend at Sunday's Detroit Free Press Marathon, Half Marathon, Relay and 5K.

Yes, Liz and I have a thing for The Biggest Loser. Perhaps we haven't gotten as hooked this season as in years past--and it doesn't help that the Chicago connection is already out of the running--but we're still caught up in the drama. And that especially holds true when the creative challenge geniuses throw events like marathons, spin-a-thons and triathlons to the competitors. But enough about this year, this post is about the old contestants who've already logged the days at the ranch, lived through Bob and Jillian torture and made those live-changing alterations to daily life. And they're reuniting in Detroit to run 13.1 miles.

It all started with season 2's at-home Biggest Loser winner Pete Thomas who hails from Detroit and has turned his weight loss into a career by running a weight-loss program in the Ann Arbor Public Schools Department of Recreation and Education. He figured why not get other BL contestants together to show that they're like anyone else and struggle to maintain their weight now that they're off the ranch and back to reality. Thomas didn't have to stray too far from home to find BL contestants to join his quest--call it a shout out to the fact that Michigan is one of the fattest states in the union and Detroit one of the fattest cities--as many a Biggest Loser hails from the Wolverine state. Two, Mike Morelli and Helen Phillips, faced off as finalists last season, and four others comprised the season 7 cast (Carla, Joelle, Helen's daughter Shanon and Mike's dad Ron).

When Thomas toes the line Sunday morning, he'll be in good company. Not only are Mike and Helen planning to run the 13.1 miles, but Carla Triplett, who weighed in as the heaviest female at 379 pounds (since eclipsed by season 8's Shay) also plans to join them. Nicole and Damien Gurganious, the engaged, now married couple from season 7, were planning to fly to Detroit on Thursday to celebrate Triplett's 38th birthday but when they heard it coincided with the race, they signed up for that too. Shellay and Amy Cremen from season 6, who also live in the Detroit area, will be running as well. Expect this coverage to show up in connection to the Biggest Loser either online or on TV--NBC is bringing a film crew to capture the event.

And not to leave anyone out but the Detroit Free Press reported that Ron Morelli, Mike's dad, may be on the 5K course. He's scheduled to have knee surgery on October 23 and if you wanted any of season 7, you saw how he struggled through workouts, runs especially, because of his bum knees. If he does make it to the start line, he'll be joined by Renee Wilson, mother of season 6 winner Michelle Aguilar.

Question is, who's going to cross the finish line first? Helen was apparently bogged down with some toe trouble this summer but she consistently finished shortly after Tara in both the half marathon and marathon while weighing significantly more. Mike supposedly has gained roughly 30 pounds since the season 7 finale--all muscle according to Dad--and could pose a threat as well. Nicole and Amy could also be fierce competitors as we never saw them run the distance during the show. Could Pete, Damien or Shellay be the dark horse that trumps them all? Who do you think will have the best finish time? But regardless of the clock time, the accomplishment is really in finishing. Good luck Sunday! Read more at the Detroit Free Press. Posted by Kate


  1. I honestly find it more impressive to keep weight off than to lose it in the first place. I've seen too many friends go through bursts of enthusiasm that last for only a couple of months and then pack it all back on once they reach their 'goal'. So to see these Alumns toeing up to the half marathon line is very inspiring!

  2. Hi Phil,

    Thanks for the comment! I may not have implied it in the post but I couldn't agree with you more. Keeping the weight off is a huge challenge. I think it's awesome these Biggest Losers are taking up the half marathon. And it's so sad to see when people lose tons of weight and then it creeps back.




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