Fans of the popular reality television series The Biggest Loser on NBC can now take part in The Biggest Loser RunWalk, a national running race series affiliated with the television show that will take place in Beaumont on Saturday, May 3.
Participants can partake in the half-marathon (7 a.m.), 5K (7:30 a.m.) or kids 1 mile (11 a.m.). Races will start and finish at the lawn of the Event Centre at 700 Crockett St. in downtown Beaumont. Registration for the half-marathon is $99; 5K, $45; and kids 1 mile (ages 4-12) $15.
“Houston has probably more than 100 races per year, while Beaumont only has a handful,” said Steve Handwerker, managing director of the race. “We love to work with communities that are really excited to have us, and Beaumont is one of those cities. This really is a big deal, plus it also helps us connect with our television fan base.”
The Biggest Loser, which started on NBC in 2004, just wrapped up season 15 with the winner being Rachel Frederickson.
Season 5 mother and son contestants Jackie and Dan Evans created The Biggest Loser RunWalk in 2012 and now do 30 races per year and have recently signed a contract to do these events at Six Flags theme parks across the country. Dan lost 136 pounds while Jackie dropped 89 for a combined 225 pounds and both ran more than 20 half-marathons in 2011.
“Our television viewership follows our races,” said Handwerker. “We are expecting anywhere from 1,300-1,500 runners on Saturday.”
Before race day, runners and the community can gather for a free meet-and-greet on Friday, May 1, at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. featuring a Q&A with former Biggest Loser contestants.
Those who register will receive a finisher’s medal, commemorative T-shirt, and drawstring backpack; the race is chip-timed for runners and those tracking personal goals, and there will be free downloadable photos, awards for each division, plus an appearance by Dan Evans.
There will be hydration stations and drinks along the course and food at the finish line. The event is also in partnership with Beaumont Emergency Center, Exygon and Community Health Choice.
“Beaumont Emergency Center provides the top-notch, concierge care we strive to provide to our participants,” said Dan Evans. “It’s all about the experience, whether it’s enjoying a fun, well-supported course, meeting the celebrities or listening to the live music, or heaven-forbid, receiving medical care.”
Staff from the Beaumont Emergency Center will be on the route, as well.
“We know the runners and walkers are out there to accomplish big, personal goals, and that takes a lot of effort,” said Jill Shipp, vice president of business development, Beaumont Emergency Center. “We’ll be there with a medical station on the half-marathon course and at the finish-line festival area just in case anyone needs medical attention of any sort.”
A portion of the proceeds will also benefit the Southeast Texas Food Bank.
The route will wind through downtown Beaumont and include areas near the Port of Beaumont, UTMB on Washington, and the Park and Pennsylvania underpasses. There will be several streets barricaded along the route and traffic detoured. In a press release, the Beaumont Police Department asked businesses to notify their employees and ask them to adjust their route accordingly.
Barricading roads will begin as early as 3 a.m. on May 3, and BPD anticipates downtown traffic resuming by 1 p.m. The full route should be open by 2 p.m. Beaumont Transit will suspend city bus service during the marathon.
For more information, including route maps, visit biggestloserrunwalk.com.
Chad Cooper can be reached at (409) 832-1400, ext. 227, or by e-mail at cooper [at] theexaminer [dot] com.