MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Change has to start somewhere, even when the road to weight loss calls for making a seemingly impossible task possible.
For more than 2,600 people who laced up their running shoes in Myrtle Beach Saturday morning, the challenge to get fit came with a special dose of motivation from the stars of NBC's The Biggest Loser.
Professional trainer Bob Harper and past contestants, including Ali Vincent, gathered in the Grand Strand to host the show's inaugural Biggest Loser 5k/1 Mile Challenge. The event drew participants from 44 states to Myrtle Beach, according to the show's executive producer.
"The stories we've heard in Myrtle Beach are amazing," J.D. Roth said.
One of those stories included the tale of 33-year-old Christopher Davis, who found himself weighing more than 600 pounds after his mother died of breast cancer. Davis said his mother's death led him to slip into a deep depression and resulted in dangerous weight gain.
"One day I got fed up with it and decided I wanted to make a change," Davis said. "I did it all on my own."
He started on his life changing journey by throwing out his recliner and replacing it with an exercise bike. Strength built up on the exercise bike led Davis to buy a gym membership, which is now used on a regular basis.
Now nearly 400 pounds lighter, his story is one to be reckoned with.
"I've been watching The Biggest Loser since the beginning. They've inspired me from the beginning and seeing what they go through and what they're feeling," Davis said. "It's an amazing feeling of accomplishment to lose the weight [and] to see what they're going through is the same thing. They've really inspired me to lose the weight and get healthy."
The inspiration of the show also drew Holly Oltroggee to the Myrtle Beach area on Saturday to begin what she called a "new chapter of her life."
"When I heard about this, I just wanted to come down here to prove to myself I could do this," Oltrogge, of Asheville, NC, said.
Oltrogge confessed being overweight has left her feeling intimidated by others, but you weren't able to tell she ever second-guessed herself as she crossed the Biggest Loser Challenge finish line. Both hands were raised high in the air, symbolizing a personal victory.
Covered in sweat, she successfully completed her first mile race on Saturday in just under 55 minutes. The accomplishment was marked with some special advice from Harper and roaring cheers from the crowd.
"[Bob] said I did a really good job - that I did it today and [that] this is what it was all about!" she exclaimed after the race.
Oltrogge said Saturday's event marked the start of her journey to lose 100 pounds by next Thanksgiving. Paired with a healthy diet and exercise schedule, the Asheville resident said she hopes Saturday's accomplishment was the first of many to come.
"I've always felt intimidated by my weight, and now I've found something I've been able to do," she said.