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The Biggest Loser: Another Marathon Episode

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The Final Stretch I’m not sure how they did it, but with some magical TV alchemy the producers of The Biggest Loser managed to squeeze another two hours out of what can politely only be called some very thin material (no pun intended, I swear). It all pivoted on the same retrospective footage: fat, crying contestants melting into smiling skinny ones. At least they didn’t show that clip of Ashley falling off the treadmill on the first day. I guess they finally decided that 27 times was enough.

Going Home Our final four got booted off the ranch like fledgling chicks and sent home for 30 days to test their new skinny wings out in the big bad world. They arrived at their various destinations in limos and were greeted like rock stars by screaming fans. Biggest tear-jerker: Daris’ mom saying, “I just can’t take my eyes off you. You’re gorgeous and you always have a smile on your face.” There’s nothing like a mother's love to get the waterworks going.

Once they weighed in and were properly fêted by their friends and family (and in Daris’ case, by the entire town of Ardmore, Oklahoma) Allison showed up on screen to tell them that for their final challenge they would be running a marathon. Anyone who finished would get $10k to give to the charity of their choice.

But the real challenge proved to be simply being back at home, among their friends and families and all that fattening food. The best part was when the contestants taped themselves Blair Witch-style, talking in the middle of the night about their downfalls: staying out too late (was Ashley tipsy?), eating compulsively late at night (Daris), or hanging out with a bunch of pizza-chowing college boys (Koli). It really showed how little there is to do socially when you aren’t eating or drinking. Being thin can be incredibly boring.

The Marathon The Biggest Loser marathon record is 4 hours and 55 minutes (the men’s world record, just for comparison, is 2 hours 3 minutes). Our contestants were gunning just to finish, which, of course, is still hard—26.2 miles is no joke.

Daris was the clear frontrunner, followed by Koli. Mike and Ashley had made a pact while they were at their respective homes to cross the finish line together. Mike even called Ashley “Shortcake,” starting all sorts of speculation about whether or not they had become this season’s second couple (I very much doubt it).

What can I say about a marathon? They ran. It looked hard. They walked. The scenery was nice. They talked about their knees. They ran some more. They walked some more. At mile 13 there were each met by a previous Biggest Loser winner. At mile 25, they were met by a family member. They cried. They all finished. Daris did it in four hours and two minutes. Koli finished in six hours and eight minutes. Ashley and Mike crossed the line after a whopping six hours and 26 minutes. It’s impressive, for sure. Then again, I’ve watched 34 hours of Biggest Loser over the last 18 weeks. That’s got to count for something.

The Weigh-in I don’t understand why being in the final four is such a big deal when only the final three get to compete in the finale. Maybe it’s because “final four” is alliterative. Whatever the reason, it was this episode and not last week’s that really decided who was going to compete for the $250,000.

Mike and Ashley brought it home by losing 23 and 18 pounds respectively. Koli lost 13, which was sort of weird considering he pretty much cloistered himself off in Las Vegas to do mixed martial arts training for the entire month he was off the ranch. Daris, in a huge upset, gained 2 pounds, which just goes to show that what you eat is more important than how much you exercise. The man was a running machine while he was gone, but those late-night pig-outs clearly cost him.

And now, in the great tradition of reality TV, it is up to America. Koli and Daris got to plead their cases, and the phone lines opened.

Who do you think should get America’s vote?

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