Dec. 7, 2011 at 3:09 AM ET
Last week on “The Biggest Loser,” final four players Vinny, John, Antone and Becky bid the ranch farewell and went home to start training for this season’s big twist — the marathon challenge that would ensure one player, past or present, a spot in the finals.
Life back home seemed just as tough as the endless-workout way of life the group left behind, which each player dedicated to their weight-loss and strength-gaining efforts.
At least Vinny took a quick break to propose to his gal pal. She said “yes," of course, but there was hardly time to celebrate.
Before the final four knew it, they were together again, joined by 11 eliminated players equally ready to run. And just in case a guaranteed spot in the endgame wasn’t enough to inspire the racers, they had the added incentive of cash prize ranging from $25,000 for first place to $2,500 for fifth.
The only “Loser” who wasn’t raring to run was Bonnie, who sat out due to an upcoming knee-replacement surgery.
Moments after host Alison Sweeney shouted “go” Courtney took the lead — and for those wondering who the heck Courtney is, well, who could blame you? Before Courtney’s Week 4 exit, she hardly made a peep on camera. In fact, her early lead in the race afforded her more face-time than she had all season.
Of course, an early lead isn’t what’s important in a marathon, which is why the recently-eliminated Ramon wasn’t concerned about running in Courtney’s shadow. He stayed upbeat while also staying hot on her heels for much of the distance.
Toward the back of the pack, things weren’t going nearly as well. Vinny, who started the season as the biggest contestant of the bunch, struggled with leg pain until eventually, at the 20-mile mark, resident “Loser” medical man Dr. Huizenga yanked him from the challenge. Vinny took the news in stride.
The same can’t be said for Joe. Just one mile further into marathon, Dr. H ordered the limping 46-year-old to sit out for the sake of his health.
“Dr. Huizenga says he’s pulling me, (and) it’s one of the worst things I’ve heard in my life,” a teary-eyed Joe admitted. “Because I just wanted to finish this. I know in my head it was the right choice, but I was so close.”
On the other end of the race there were more tears — happy ones, as Ramon beat his closest competitors (Courtney, John, Jessica and Patrick) and crossed the finish line in first place, earning big bucks now and a chance to win even more later.
Thanks to the marathon twist, there was only room for two members of the former final four to make it to the end, and their fates were decided by the always unforgiving red line. Not surprisingly, powerhouse players John and Antone continued to dominate on the scale, each dropping more than 9 percent of their body weight since leaving the ranch. That left Vinny and Becky below the line and out of the running for the $250,000 grand prize. It also left John and Antone with a few fighting words until they meet again.
“I’m not going to be happy until I’m pulling confetti out of my hair,” John boasted after being called the game’s biggest competitor.
“I’ve slayed bigger dragons than that,” a seemingly carefree Antone later said.
But both men need to remember that Ramon is in it to win it, too.
Find out which “Loser” wins big and which past player snags the $100,000 at-home prize when the season finale airs Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 9 p.m. on NBC.
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