BiggestLoser (copy)

The runners start the Biggest Loser 5K in 2015 in Crown Point.

Rachel Hamnik, Times file photo

CROWN POINT — "The Biggest Loser" is returning to the Region.

The race series inspired by the NBC television show will be at the Lake County Fairgrounds on April 30. The event will feature a half-marathon, 5K and "motivational" mile. There also will be a health expo April 29.

"I think it was important we didn't just have people show up on Sunday (April 30) to run," said Rick Flutka, sports development manager for the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority. "On Saturday (April 29), they can get health screenings and information on fitness and other health programs that are available."

The 2015 race had more than 1,800 runners from 19 states.

People also can sign up for a community fitness challenge, sponsored by Franciscan Health, that begins Monday. The contest challenges participants to move more and eat better, with weekly prize draws. It can be accessed by app or via the web. Proceeds from the challenge go to the Franciscan Alliance Foundation.

"It's an online, eight-week program that will motivate and also help train people up until the race," said Marci Crozier, director of health promotions for Franciscan Health and Season 11 contestant on "The Biggest Loser." "It ends the week before the race so people are prepared, so they're not coming in cold turkey and right off the couch."

Crozier encourages companies to join the challenge. "Healthier employees are better employees," she said.

The Biggest Loser Race Series is operated by Season 16 contestant Andrea Wilamowski.

"The show is about giving people hope," Crozier said. "It's not about the time; it's about finishing. Everybody helps each other and encourages each other. You can volunteer and show the same spirit even if you don't do the race. It's definitely a community event."

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Giles is the health reporter for The Times, covering the business of health care as well as consumer and public health. He previously wrote about health for the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.