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'Fat March' ends with six marchers finishing, winning $40,000 each


By Christopher Rocchio, 09/11/2007 

Six contestants crossed the Fat March finish line in Washington DC during last night's finale of the ABC reality competition series, completing their 575-mile trek across the northeastern portion of the country and each claiming a $40,000 share in the grand prize.

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Fat March's finale broadcast began with six of the 12 original contestants -- Chantal, a 35-year-old student and comedian from Brookline, MA; Jami Lyn, a 30-year-old military wife and mother from Daleville, AL; Loralie, a 30-year-old marketing resources expert from Milwaukee, WI; Shea, a 27-year-old makeup/special effects artist from Indian Rocks Beach, FL; Michael, a 41-year-old baseball coach, lab technician and married father from Elwood, IL; and Sam, a 22-year-old certified massage therapist from Everett, MA -- departing Pearre, MD for a 15-mile walk that they needed to complete in five hours.

As they walked, Jami Lyn made it clear that she was still upset about the elimination of Anthony, an unemployed 25-year-old from Addison, IL, who was voted out of the march by Loralie and Sam, who doubted his ability to complete it and thus would have cost all the walkers their share in the grand prize.  Loralie defended her and Sam's decision, calling it the "right thing to do."

At the end of Day 40, the remaining group of contestants had completed 465 miles but Jami Lyn had to take a leave of absence to go have her bum knee checked out by medical personnel.  The following day the group walked 11 more miles, but it was without Jami Lyn, whose knee required ice and rest. 

On Day 42 while the other five contestants had to walk 13 miles in five hours, Jami Lyn also had the additional 11 miles from the previous day, meaning she had to cover 24 miles in five hours.  While he wasn't required to do so, Michael decided to hang back and keep Jami Lyn company.  She thought their progress was "really good" and commented they "caught up pretty quick," but Jami Lyn was still 7-miles short heading into Day 43, which would have the contestants completing a 26.2-mile marathon in 10 hours.

As Loralie, Sam, Chantal and Shea each pushed themselves to finish the marathon in the allotted time, Jami Lyn had the extra miles to complete and Michael assisted her once again.  After a lot of complaining from everybody, Shea was the first to complete the marathon (7 hours, 14 minutes); followed by Chantal (8:37); and Sam and Loralie, who crossed the finish line together (9:08).  Despite their teammates doubting them, Jami Lyn and Michael were able to complete the 33 miles thrown at them within the 10-hour time limit (9:33).

"Before we started this, I couldn't even barely walk to the bus stop with my kids," said Jami Lyn.  "And today I finished 33 miles."

The next day, the six contestants competed in their last Fat March reward challenge before making the final push to Washington DC.  Each contestant would have to pick a basket full of strawberries; transport them via bicycle to an ice bucket; transport the ice and strawberries to a blender; then mix a smoothie.  The first contestant to complete the challenge would win an in-home gym.  While Sam led for most of the challenge, Shea overtook him at the end and claimed the prize.

"It feel good to go out on top!" said Shea of her third Fat March reward challenge win.  In addition, she was given the opportunity by Fat March fitness trainers Steve Pfiester and Lorrie Henry to give an in-home gym to one of the other contestants.  Despite finishing the challenge last, Loralie was the recipient of Shea's generosity.

That night, Jami Lyn expressed to Steve how she was still "livid" about Loralie and Sam's decision to eliminate Anthony and revealed her plan to "sabotage" the game for the rest of the remaining walkers.  For each of the six walkers who had previously been eliminated from or quit the Fat March journey -- $10,000 was deducted from each remaining contestant's potential $100,000 prize -- leaving the six remaining walkers with $40,000 each.  However to claim their share, each of the six walkers would have to cross the Washington DC finish line. 

Jami Lyn's rational was that since Anthony's share was taken away when he was eliminated, she was going to "stick it to everybody" by not crossing the finish line.  During the 16-mile trek on Day 46, Sam revealed Jami Lyn's plan to Loralie, and she wasn't happy about it.  She described Jami Lyn as an "idiot," added the potential sabotage "infuriated" her, and ended by describing it as a "petty... slap in the face."

Once word spread to the other contestants, Jami Lyn's popularity within the group took a nosedive.  Chantal thought it was "vindictive" and "such a betrayal," while Shea commented it was "selfish" and "ridiculous."

"I still got your back as a teammate, but that doesn't mean I have to like you," Shea said to Jami Lyn.

Michael was the only one who stood by Jami Lyn's side (again), and he took a verbal tongue-lashing from a visibly upset Loralie.

"You said there would be no animosity if I did what I needed to do!" yelled Loralie, referring to a conversation she had with Jami Lyn and Michael about Anthony's elimination prior to when she and Sam went through with it.  "I'm going to DC!  Who wants to go with me?!  If I have no money when I cross that finish line, so be it... But I am going!"

The next morning, Jami Lyn apologized in an effort to unite the team before they began their trek to the finish line.

"The idea to sabotage everyone here because they voted off my friend Anthony was bad... It was just an idea.  I'm sorry that I'm misunderstood," she said.  "I want everyone here to know that there's not even one question in my mind about where we're all going to be as a team, and that's the finish line in DC.  If I gave anybody doubt, I'm sorry about that."

Day 47 then began with the six remaining contestants walking the final 12 miles in four hours.  All six reached the finish line in Washington DC with no problems, meaning each left the 575-mile journey $40,000 richer.  Jami Lyn called it "the most satisfying, amazing, complete experience" of her life; Michael felt like he was "on cloud nine;" Chantal called it the "proudest moment" of her life;" Shea said it was one of her "greatest accomplishments;" and Sam was "so fired up."

"We did it!" exclaimed Loralie.  "All of us overweight people who were all at least 100-pounds overweight, who had never camped before, none of us exercise... We did it!  I'm so proud of that!"

With the prize money awarded, all that was left was the final weigh-in.  Jami Lyn lost 50 pounds (236 to 186); Chantal shed 51 pounds (250 to 199); Shea dropped 55 pounds (289 to 234); Loralie lost 56 pounds (241 to 185); Michael shed 80 pounds (319 to 239); and Sam was the biggest loser, dropping a total of 85 pounds (382 to 297).

"This experience was worth every blister, every knee pain I had," said Sam.  "It was all worth it, and I'm so happy was able to be part of this."

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