02 March 2009

the biggest .. liar?

the story:
Ex-'Biggest Loser' contestant didn't exactly run marathon

NBC has launched an investigation into an episode of its popular reality show "The Biggest Loser" that showed an eliminated contestant purporting to finish a 26.2-mile marathon. Eyewitnesses posting to a tv blog said he had done no such thing.

In the final segment of Wednesday's broadcast, a story about Dane Patterson, who lost more than 100 pounds in an extreme weight-loss regimen while competing at The Biggest Loser ranch, showed him back at home after having left the show, running a marathon with his wife, Carli, in Arizona.

The program reported that Patterson finished the marathon in 3 hours 53 minutes. Clearly, the time was in error; a clock can be seen showing the race time at 5:53, not 3:53. But the assertion that he had run 26.2 miles was a lie, as Carli Patterson herself admitted on her blog.

"We had stopped along the way to film at a water station and to make up for lost time our producers drove us ONLY 3 miles up the road," she wrote, "but we are still incredibly happy about the 23 miles we ran."

Unfortunately, Carli was contradicted by her husband in an online video that NBC removed later. In it, Dane Patterson says, "It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life to run side by side with my wife for an entire marathon."

Several runners, writing on various Web sites, asserted that Patterson was disqualified after failing to disclose to race officials that his time had been van-aided. Another reader, whose wife ran with the Pattersons near the finish line, offered a different explanation: Stragglers' times simply were not recorded in the official results.

But that was a trivial concern to many long-distance runners, who still remember the notorious Rosie Ruiz cheating in order to win the Boston Marathon in 1980.

Not surprisingly, NBC went into damage-control mode after the initial story appeared at TVBarn.com. A conference call with Dane Patterson, who was eliminated from the show this week, was canceled abruptly Thursday morning.

Late Thursday evening, a network spokesman issued a statement about the "Biggest Loser" episode in question. The statement said that "the segment as aired was contrary to NBC policy," and that network executives would work with the show's producers "to ensure that corrective action is taken."

Late Thursday evening, a network spokesman issued a statement about the "Biggest Loser" episode in question. The statement said that "the segment as aired was contrary to NBC policy," and that network executives would work with the show's producers "to ensure that corrective action is taken."


my thoughts:

When I saw heard (I usually watch the show, but missed this particular episode) that Blaine ran the marathon in 3:53, I was, like others, flabergasted. 3:53:13 is my PR at Richmond, and that came as a result of many, many miles and a few sacrifices.

Then: a van drove his wife and him 3 mi.
Then: it was actually 5:53. For TWENTY THREE miles.

Any marathoner can tell you that the three miles around 17-20 are the most painful. You have been on your feet for a few hours but still have at least a 10K to go. Mentally those miles are hard. Physically they hurt.

I - like many others - take offense to his wife saying that it was "only" three miles. I don't care if it was "only" 200 feet -- if you don't run 26.2 mi, you did not complete a marathon. You can pass out at mi 26.1 and, as much as that really sucks, it's a DNF.

Oh, and the different between a 5K and a 10K is 3.1 miles... can I just use my 5K PR as my 10K PR? It's ONLY three miles!

I would have perferred to see him take 6+ hours, and cross the finish line with integrity.

I understand that NBC, who is shocked, I'm sure ::sarcasm:: , pushed for this. They had the van waiting for him, told him to get in, etc. But: we have free will. Just because NBC says 'cheat!' you don't have to say, 'sure, by how much?'.

I'm glad the truth came out. Everyone who runs/ walks 26.2 mi is a marathoner. Sub 3:00 or 7+, 26.2 is an amazing accomplishment.

But: only if it's 26.2.


  1. My wife follows this show every week for seasons and saw the NBC mis-info displayed on the lower part of the TV screen and the race clock showing the actual time...the NBC producers need a talking too if they haven't already...b

  2. Spoken like a true attorney.

    I know you can do better than me. Mine is 3 52. I did do it when I was 37 (a few years back) and it was my first (I figured out what it took to finish and never trained as hard again). Based on Dane's BL produced finish, we should be around 2 15 and qualifing for the next Olympics.
    Go girl !! To late for me, but you can do it..

  3. That's "too" not "to", too many wines at the Houston airport while traveling....

  4. I just don't get it when people do stuff like this. Surely finishing the entire marathon is what it is about and what brings the personal satisfaction and sense of accomplishment?
    It is like cheating in an IM or any race for that matter. You did not do it on your own so it does not count.

  5. DITTO and Absolutely. Kinda gives Reality TV a new meaning, doesn't it.

  6. I don'T watch the show but my PR is 5:01 and I weighed 165lbs so yeah a 350 lbs guy beating me by more than 1h is making me angry. That all the common people will think this is 'easy' and anyone can do it in less than 4h. Stupid sensational tv.

  7. I am so freaking glad to see this clarification. I was watching it going really a sub 4 they ran a sub 4!?! Plus, you see them running in the clips and you think "no freaking way they pulled that off."

    Thank you for your 5k v. 10k analysis. As someone who is just now trying to get back to running from an achilles injury, I would like to clarify that 3 miles is something. Particularly since that seems to be all I can do right now on my weekly runs.

    Love the blog, woman, love the blog...

  8. Since only a fraction of 1% of the population even does marathon (or Ironman - even fewer!), I imagine NBC figured no one would know the difference.
    You are so right that if you collapse at 26.1, you DNF!

  9. the 5K 10K analogy gives the best clarity to why 23 miles isn't a marathon!

  10. Your thoughts are spot on! I don't follow the show but heard about this and was disgusted. Clearly Dane and his wife have a lot to learn about distance running, like, it's called distance running and it involves NO DRIVING! That's a fair start. NBC certainly needs to take corrective actions: against themselves that is.