Looking around before the race started, I found inspiration all around me. Dozens of people in shirts celebrating their recent weight loss, and eager fans of the show stood in line to shake hands, hug, and get photos with some of their favorite contestants from the biggest loser.
I have run with Dan and Jackie several times before, in 2011 I was on their 11 half marathon tour. I have admired that over the years the lessons about health and fitness they learned on the show have been carried on, integrated into their whole family, and passed onto thousands they now work to inspire.
Many of you remember that last year "The Biggest Loser" included children in their challenge this past season for the first time, and Bingo, one of the three young contestants was at this race to lead the kids one mile fun run.
The highlight for me was Sione and Filipe doing their motivational Maori War Dance at the start line. The brothers stole the hearts of America and are now part of the "Biggest Loser Fitness Ridge Chicago" team - having publicly shared their struggles and triumphs both on the show and since.
At the finish, plenty of fresh fruit (no canned or pre-packaged stuff here) and live entertainment provided by Dan Evens.
It was a fun day, and reminded me why I love running. It is one of the few sports that meets every athlete wherever they are, and lets them improve each day that they choose to continue the journey.
I will be looking for one of their half-marathon in 2014 to fit in my schedule, and maybe check out one of there off-road challenges, which are designed by Spartan Race!