Published February 26th, 2009
I’ve been meaning to post my race report from my very first 50K, but recovery has taken a higher priority. However, procrastination has its rewards, as I can now weave the Biggest Loser marathon debacle into the report (gotta keep this blog topical, ya know).
So what does the Biggest Loser have to do with a 50K? Not much, really. But if you watch the show, you probably know it also doesn’t have much to do with FINISHING a marathon. At least not in Dane Patterson’s case.
I was tipped off about the alleged cheating soon after the race (the Arizona Desert Classic on January 31). It’s a relatively small Maniac-centric race; most of the runners know each other, and given it’s an out-and-back course you know where you place throughout the race. One marathon finisher posted her account of what happened on the Biggest Loser forum, stating she saw Dane and his wife behind her at the turnaround. Imagine her surprise when she saw them again in FRONT of her at Mile 23. Turns out they were picked up by a van at Mile 17 and driven for several miles (according to Carli Patterson, they were “only” driven 3 miles; I find that suspect).
After I read about this on the Maniac forum, I was curious to see how they would portray it on the show. Sure enough, last night Dane was voted off, and during the “Where are they now?” segment they showed him “finishing” the marathon, along with his wife. The real shocker? They claimed he ran a sub 4-hour marathon (3:53:xx). The clock actually states 5:53:xx, but the caption underneath clearly states 3:53. In addition, both Dane and his wife talk about the elation of running “an entire marathon.” I’d point you to the video, but NBC has since removed it from the site. (BTW — the Desert Classic race director was tipped off and Dane and Carli were disqualified).
I’ve been a fan of the show for several seasons, although I’ve been getting turned off by the product placements and back stabbing. It used to be a very supportive show, and now not so much. With this latest charade, I think my BL viewing days are over. Mind you, I do think Dane and his wife ran at least 17 miles, which is indeed impressive given he’s still a big guy. But it’s irresponsible to claim he was able to run a full marathon in under 4 hours. I just think that’s a slap in the face to anyone who has trained for — and ran — the entire distance. (And yes — the fact they claimed he ran the marathon a minute faster than MY marathon PR really chaps my hide!)
Granted, I realize this is television and they’d have red faces if they couldn’t show them getting their medals. They probably realized by mile 17 they wouldn’t be able to finish within the 6-hour time frame, so the gave them a ride. In reading comments on other blogs, forums, etc., a lot of people say that it’s still “inspirational.” Perhaps, but to me it would have been MUCH more inspirational if they either showed him NOT finishing, or finishing well after the time limit, then having him acknowledge what an incredible feat it is to run a marathon and that he’s going to train even harder for the next one in order to earn his medal.
But again, what the heck does all this have to do with my 50K this past Sunday? Well, while my “official” time states 5:45:00, there should be an asterisk next to my name. I can’t in good conscience rail against Dane and not fess up to my own deceitfulness.