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Biggest Loser Champ Danni Allen Won More Than Weight Loss

Look at her go! Danni kicked major asphalt in Chicago this past July. (Photo courtesy of Danni Allen)

Written by editorial intern Gabriella Rello

Danni Allen proves it’s not so bad to be a loser. The season 14 winner of NBC’s The Biggest Loser shed an incredible 121 pounds during her 12-week stay on the show and gained something much greater in the process: a bright future.  “It was about winning a life that I never knew I could possibly have,” Allen says. A new life that includes half-marathons, triathlons and daily 10Ks. What’s next for the Loser-alum? Running her first 26.2 before her 26th birthday! We caught up with the speedy long-distance runner and chatted training. Here's what she had to say:

What was your biggest motivation to lose weight?

The biggest thing for me was when my dad got sick in February of last year. He was actually rushed to the hospital and I get the call that no daughter wants to hear that says, “Bring the whole family in.” In my head, I was like, “If I keep following in his footsteps, that is going to be me at 50.” A miracle happened and he’s okay, but that was my “Aha” moment that I needed to change.

You’re running in the Chicago Marathon on October 13–was this always a long-term goal of yours?

Goodness, no! Before The Biggest Loser I thought running was stupid. I was like, “Who would do this? My knees hurt, my legs hurt; I can’t breathe!” When I got on the show, I knew I needed a goal beyond the finale. I told myself, “If you find something you love, then continue with it.” Running was one of the first things I found I loved, so I really wanted to follow through. In past seasons they’ve always run marathons. Our season didn’t get to because we were so short. I felt short-changed! I’m running with St. Jude now. It was really fun to start doing that.

How are you training for the race?

I’ve had to be pretty strict with it. It’s all about getting your miles in. If you talk to anyone who’s training for a marathon, they have one long run a week. My trainer wanted me to learn how to run on dead legs, so whatever my long run is, I’m running half of it the day before. On Sunday I ran 20 miles, so on Saturday I ran 10. I have an awesome running partner, too, and we turn our long runs into our gossip time. We won’t talk all week and then we’ll get it all out on the road. She’s turning 40 next year and her goal was to run a marathon before her birthday. Mine was to run my 26 at 26.

How do you get yourself excited for races?

I have two pump up songs: “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys and “My Songs Knows What You Did In The Dark” by Fall Out Boy. I just get into it and my head starts banging.

Other than running, what do you do for a workout?

Running has been my go-to, but I do indoor cycling a lot at FlyWheel. If I’m home, I go  six days a week. There’s a competitive edge to it. I’m a little bit competitive.

What’s your go-to workout snack?

It all depends. If I’m running, I’m really avid bout keeping it exactly the same. I’ll have a piece of Ezekiel bread with almond butter and a cup of coffee.  If it’s in between, I’ll have a Lara Bar. They’re gluten-free and high in protein - I love the lemon flavor. The peanut butter one is too good. It’s dangerous!

And for those of you who are trying to get into running yourself, Danni has a special shout-out for you:

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