Runner’s World Weighs In On Biggest Loser Scandal

The parent company of Runner’s World publishes Biggest Loser books and has a financial interest in the show’s image, so it was only a matter of time before we heard from them about the Dane Patterson marathon fiasco.

Runner’s World interviewed Patterson and others associated with the race.

By the time Dane reached a water stop past mile 16, they’d fallen way off pace. He was exhausted, and a sub-six-hour finish was not going to happen. One of the producers proposed driving Dane and Carli up the road.

“I was irritated,” Dane said, “but I just wanted to make everybody happy. I knew the show wanted a finishing shot.”

In my view, neither NBC nor the producers on site have any excuse for what they did. All of this idiocy simply to get a finish line shot. They could have used footage of Patterson celebrating with his family afterwards and made no mention of how far he ran, what his time was, or whether the course was still open. No one would have cared.

And how could NBC broadcast a show ostensibly about health and fitness and no one questioned the 3:53 caption at the end of the show? Did they fire all their fact-checkers during the writers’ strike?

As for Patterson himself, he must have been really dehydrated to think that climbing in a van at mile 17 was a good idea. But he’s not making it easy to give him the benefit of the doubt, no matter how apologetic he is now. Here are some of the things he told Runner’s World:

* “At the time I didn’t think it was a big a deal, but it was a bad decision. I understand that now. I realize how important that 26.2 miles is for runners.”

* “Honestly, I will cherish that medal for doing 23 miles.” (Patterson wasn’t disqualified until after he received his finisher’s medal. No one, so far, has suggested he give it back.)

* “Plus, at mile 17, it’s not hard to talk a 280-pound guy into taking a ride.”

Next week on The Biggest Loser: Tara swims the English Channel! Don’t miss it!