After five months on the “Biggest Loser” campus, the final four contestants — Koli, Ashley, Michael and Daris — were sent home to continue their weight-loss journey on their own for the next 30 days.
“But don’t enjoy yourself too much,” warned host Alison Sweeney, explaining that each contestant would have to prepare at home for their final challenge: running a marathon. Each player who completed the 26.2-mile run would win a $10,000 donation for their favorite charity.
While the players clearly relished being back among their families, each had trouble adjusting to life away from the Biggest Loser ranch. Ashley, for example, felt guilty for going out to party with her friends. Michael struggled to teach his family new eating habits. Koli became so distracted by his family that he left his home and moved to a Las Vegas hotel to continue his training in private. And Daris — the runner of the group, whose greatest wish was to run a marathon — started suffering from anxiety. His nerves about being home resulted in late nights of binge eating — exactly the behavior which made him obese in the first place.
Marathon challengeBut help was on the way: Trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels dropped in on the contestants to discuss their progress and put them to work. In the most entertaining of these at-home visits, Jillian chased Daris down as he was running on an Oklahoma road, flying in a helicopter to the tune of Wagner’s “Flight of the Valkyries.”
Back on campus, the day of the marathon dawned rainy and cold, but that didn’t get the contestants down — especially Daris, who was committed to breaking a previous time of 4 hours and 55 minutes set by a player in a previous season. Michael and Ashley, meanwhile, promised each other that they’d run and finish the race together.
In the end, Daris finished fastest, coming in at 4 hours and 2 minutes and breaking the Biggest Loser marathon record. The other players also finished strong: Koli completed the course in 6 hours and 8 minutes, while Michael and Ashley brought up the rear, finishing in 6 hours and 26 minutes.
Three losers, one gainer
At the final weigh-in, the two players who lost the largest percentage of weight during their 30 days at home would be guaranteed a place in the season’s finale and a chance at winning the $250,000 prize and the title of Biggest Loser. America would decide by a popular vote which of the remaining contestants who fell below the yellow line would also be allowed to compete for the big prize.
Michael started off the weigh-in with an impressive 23-pound loss, while Ashley posted an 18-pound loss, guaranteeing both of them places at the finale. Koli lost 13 pounds.
But Daris’ late-night binges came back to haunt him: He gained 2 pounds during his time at home. “We all fall down. The key is to learn from it, dust yourself off and keep going,” Jillian advised him.
Next week: The live finale of “The Biggest Loser.”