When Jackie Evans and her son Dan went back to Frankfurt, Ill., after filming the fifth season of “The Biggest Loser,” they were worried. The duo had lost a combined 225 pounds on the TV show’s ranch, and then, suddenly, they were on their own.
That’s when they signed up for their first road race, and “it changed everything,” says Jackie, 55. “Instead of going on the treadmill — Dan calls it ‘the dreadmill’ — it’s a big social event.”
The party atmosphere motivated the Evanses to stick with their healthier routines. Now they’re inviting everyone to join them for The Biggest Loser RunWalk Series, which is bringing races to cities nationwide. The next stop is D.C., for a 5K, 10K and 1-mile kids’ race Sunday at RFK Stadium Festival Grounds.
What sets these events apart is the emphasis on walking, Dan says. There’s a separate walk division, with walkers eligible for prizes. Participants don’t need to rush when they can take 22 minutes per mile for the 10K and up to a half hour per mile in the 5K.
“It’s taking away all of the big, scary ideas that come with 5Ks,” the 26-year-old says.
The RunWalk concept also applies to how Jackie chooses to train. She completed her first half-marathon in 2010 and did 11 in 2011 — a feat her body couldn’t have handled if she’d run the whole way.
“I run when I can, and I walk when I need to,” she says.
But that doesn’t mean “the people who look like gazelles” should stay home. Speedsters remind the back of the pack of what’s possible.
Participants will want to hurry to the finish-line festival after the race, where Dan — a country musician — will play for the crowd. He has a history of good performances in Washington: In 2012, he ran his fastest half-marathon here.
“It wasn’t the flattest course, but it was so beautiful,” says Dan, who hopes the setting inspires others to earn their personal best on Sunday.
Details: Register for The Biggest Loser RunWalk (biggestloserrunwalk.com) online or at Saturday’s packet pickup (11 a.m.-4 p.m., 801 E St. NW). The 5K ($35-$45) and the 10K ($50-$60) begin at 9 a.m. Sunday at RFK Stadium.