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‘McRunner’ trains for marathon by eating only McDonald’s

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

You’ve heard of Big Macs, McNuggets, McMansions and McJobs — now meet the McRunner.

Palatine dad Joe D’Amico plans to run the Los Angeles Marathon on March 20 after training for 30 days on a diet of McDonald’s fast food alone.

It may sound more like a recipe for getting the runs than running fast. But ultra-lean D’Amico aims to beat his personal best time of two hours and 36 minutes — a six-minute-mile pace that should put him among the top 50 finishers.

“My wife told me I was crazy,” D’Amico, 36, said. “But I love McDonald’s and I love running, and this was a great way to combine the two.”

D’Amico, who has been blogging about his progress at, has been eating three meals a day at the golden arches for the last two weeks. He plans to keep up the regime until the race.

He usually starts the day with a plate of hot cakes, an Egg McMuffin and an orange juice. He eats a grilled chicken sandwich for lunch, washed down with a large Coke, then enjoys a hamburger and fries for dinner, with cookies for desert. His only deviation from the McDonald’s menu is a daily multivitamin, tap water, and an energy gel he takes while on the road.

It is, his doctor says, a less than ideal preparation for the 26.2-mile ordeal. But D’Amico insists, “I’ve been feeling really good.”

Unlike filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, who gained 24 pounds and saw his health rapidly deteriorate while eating at McDonald’s for a month for his hit 2004 documentary “Super Size Me,” D’Amico won’t order large fries, and he’s never had a Big Mac. He did try an Angus deluxe burger, though, as part of his training

“I can do it because I’m running 100 miles a week,” he said.

A more traditional runner’s diet centered on pasta, bananas and other whole foods fueled him to the finish line in the 14 marathons he’s previously run.

He isn’t sponsored by or connected to McDonald’s in any way, he says, but he is raising funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities because “It seemed a natural fit.”

“I’m not trying to prove anyone wrong or make any kind of political statement,” he added. “But I’ve been eating McDonald’s since I was a kid. In a way I’ve been practicing for this my whole life.”

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