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‘Biggest Loser’ race set to attract thousands

By Josephine Mendez, Intern reporter

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Biggest Loser RunWalk is coming to Charleston for the second year Saturday with a half marathon, a 5K and a kids 1-mile fun run.

The race was created to serve as a non-intimidating outlet for those who wish to get active, but previously were to scared or embarrassed to compete. Every runner who competes the race receives The Biggest Loser Finisher’s Medal, regardless of whether they choose to compete in the race or simply complete it.

The event is organized by Jackie Evans and her son Dan, contestants from season five of the popular TV show, “The Biggest Loser.”

During their time on the show, the mother son team lost more than 200 pounds collectively.

“When you are on the ranch, losing weight is easier because all you have to think about is exercising,” Jackie Evans said. “The real struggle starts when you get home.”

With all the stress brought on by jobs and everyday life, the duo began looking for an activity that would keep them from getting bored and complacent with their workouts.

This is when a friend invited them to a run/walk race. The race gave them a goal to work toward.

“We got addicted,” Jackie Evans said. “Having this sport changed the meaning of our workouts and gave us a purpose to our training.”

After their first race, Jackie and Dan Evans spent the year touring the country, competing in races and sharing their story along the way.

Now with the Biggest Loser RunWalk race, they have even more opportunities to share their experience with those who may be going through the same challenges they went through.

“It’s a big social event but it’s really about competing against yourself,” Jackie Evans said. “We tell people that they can either compete or complete.”

Among the more than 1,000 set to compete in the race is Charleston native April Keatley.

Seven years ago, Keatley weighted 270 pounds and was faced with the challenge of getting healthy and losing weight — except she did not have the help of “The Biggest Loser” trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels.

Like many people, she said her weight had gone through the dreaded “yo-yo effect.” She would stay committed to getting fit for a while but could never remain motivated long enough to keep the weight off.

“When I got started it wasn’t just about losing weight, it was about getting to know myself,” Keatley said.

It was a slow process, but on her most recent attempt, she was determined to break her bad habits. She joined a gym and started working out daily.

At first, she just worked on cardio. Once she gained more confidence, she added in weight training before finally working on her nutrition.

“I had never really paid much attention to my nutrition,” Keatley said. “I had just tried to out-exercise a bad diet.”

During her weight-loss journey, she relied on the help, support and encouragement of her friends and family, and it paid off.

After more than two years of working out and staying healthy while still juggling a full-time job, Keatley was able to lose more than 100 pounds and reach her goal weight of 158 pounds.

“It is so doggone inspiring to hear about people’s stories,” Jackie Evans said. “It’s one of the main reason we started this race.”

The race will start with the half marathon at 8 a.m. Saturday and continue with the 5K at 8:30 a.m. and the 1 mile kids fun run at noon. The cost of the race is $99 for the half marathon, $45 for the 5K and $15 for the fun run. Registration can be done online at www.BiggestLoserRunWalk.com or in-person an hour before the start of the first race.

To get 25 percent off the race fee, use code DAILYMAIL online or mention the Charleston Daily Mail at the time of your registration.

Those who are already registered can pick up their packet from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Charleston Civic Center where former contestants of “The Biggest Loser” will talk about food and fitness, give tips for first runners and answer questions from the audience. The former contestants will include Chelsea Arthurs from season 15, Lauren Lee from season 13, Danny Cahill from season eight and Jackie and Dan Evans from season five.

Contact writer Josephine Mendez at jozy.mendez@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-7917. Follow her at www.lifeofanintern-charlestondailymail.blogspot.com.


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