Inaugural Biggest Loser Half Marathon Gets Off on the Right Foot

By: Ashley Arnold Email
By: Ashley Arnold Email

The streets of Pier Park were packed to kick off the inaugural Biggest Loser Run/Walk Half Marathon and 5K.

People from more than 30 states gathered at the start line in Pier Park ready to run their last race for 2012.

Participants chose to run or walk the half marathon of 5K. After finishing the race, everyone involved received a medal to show their accomplishment, especially after facing weather in the 30s when things kicked off.

"It was freezing this morning," said Mandy Williamson, who ran the 5K, "but you know what, it's amazing. The feeling is amazing, I'm glad I did it, we challenged ourselves and we did it."

Saturday afternoon, Lisa Alvarado and her family were gathered at the Biggest Loser Health Expo, Sunday morning, she, her husband, Jason, and their daughter, Nadine, came together to run the race together.

"It felt great, I was happy," said Jason Alvarado, "especially when she said she wanted to run with us," he said pointing to Nadine.

Paul Dates and Charles Carmen traveled from Columbus, GA to participate and have been training together. Their hard work paid off, Dates came in 1st place and Carmen came in 2nd.

"It a great feeling," said Carmen. "It's very humbling for both of us because our goal isn't just to win, it's to be better than we were before."

While some participants were experienced, others were taking their first steps in the world of running.

Chris Critchlow ran his first 5K Sunday morning, a step he never expected to take at this stage of his life.

"I started this two and a half months ago," he said, "I could barely run a block."

Over the course of his time preparing, Critchlow lost 42 pounds and completed his run in 38 minutes.

"Today really just...I realized how important it all was when I was coming through that line," he continued. "When I was coming up and there was like 50 feet, 25 feet, 5 feet, I'm done, it was...it was an amazing feeling. I can't wait to do it again," he finished with a smile on his face.

"Everybody comes up to us and goes, you're such an inspiration, what they don't realize is we are inspired by them," said Jackie Evans, one half of the mother-son duo that started the Biggest Loser Run/Walk. "We know what it takes to get off the couch and get moving, we were there."

Sunday's race was just one way for people to move into the new year on the right foot. Evans says they had close to 1,500 participants and they plan to bring the event back to Panama City Beach next year.


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