"McRunner" trains for marathon on an exclusive McDonald's diet

Joe D'Amico fuels his 100-mile training weeks solely with food from McDonald's
Joe D'Amico fuels his 100-mile training weeks solely with food from McDonald's

Across the country, runners are embarking on their rigorous training plans for a wide variety of spring marathons, relying on the usual runner's carb-heavy diet of pasta, bagels, and potatoes to fuel their efforts. But not Joe D'Amico. The 36-year old runner is training for his 15th marathon (the Los Angeles Marathon on March 20) and eating every meal for the last 30 days of his training at McDonald's, a brand associated more often with obesity than elite athleticism. And D'Amico is no slouch--his personal record for the marathon was set right here in the Twin Cities last October: 2:36:54. For the uninitiated, that's a scorching 6-minute-mile pace, sustained over a grueling 26.2 miles. Will he be able to top that effort with a gut full of burgers and fries? D'Amico thinks so.

D'Amico is blogging about his progress on his website, where he describes himself as "a drive-thru runner," who values "simplicity, consistency, and convenience" over nutritional value. He attributes his athletic success to simply cranking out the miles; he eschews cross-training, stretching, and fancy diets based on painstaking ratios of carbs to protein to fat. His typical meal at McDonald's (as reported in the Sun Times) consists of a grilled chicken sandwich or a hamburger and fries washed down with a large Coke. For breakfast he enjoys hot cakes, an Egg McMuffin, and an orange juice.

Still, D'Amico isn't trying to make a political statement or get wrapped up in any nutrition debates. He simply loves McDonald's and running, and he thought this would be a fun way to combine the two while doing a little good. For every person who "likes" D'Amico's Facebook page, McRunner, $2 will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

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