Palatine marathoner Joe D'Amico set a personal best time this morning in Los Angeles after training for the last month exclusively on McDonald's—and raised more than $26,000 for the fast food chain's charities while he was at it.
"I couldn't ask for a better run on a tough course in difficult conditions," D'Amico said.
D'Amico completed the L.A. Marathon with an unofficial time of 2:36.14, an improvement of about 30 seconds over his previous best marathon. D'Amico completed the course with about a 5:57 per mile pace, despite rain and some gusty winds.
D'Amico's unique personal challenge—first reported March 1 on —has become something of a global phenomenon. His McRunner Facebook page has exploded in popularity and now has more than 23,000 fans. He's been interviewed by radio stations in Canada. D'Amico was slated to appear on ABC World News after the marathon.
"I'd anticipated a little local coverage," D'Amico said. "I didn't expect the story to go national and then international."
D'Amico said he has raised more than $26,000 for Ronald McDonald's charities. D'Amico pledged a dollar for each Facebook "like" up to 2,500. His father matched the donation. As interest in the story grew, donations ranging from $1 to $2,500 began rolling in.
"The support we've received has been incredible," D'Amico said.
D'Amico's last blood work showed his cholesterol had improved from 186 pre-challenge to 158 on day 25 of the challenge.
The food tally? McRunner still has shockingly not tried a Big Mac. But he admits he did have an angus deluxe during training.
He also had three Filet -O-Fish, 91 hotcakes, 24 oatmeals, 23 hamburgers, 24 chicken "Snack Wraps", 63.5 cookies, 23 sodas, 14 fruit and walnut salades and nine chocolate milks.
Despite a fondness for McRibs, none were consumed during the challenge. D'Amico ran about 100 miles a week during the last month of his training.
"I really have learned a lot in the last 30 days about health, diet and exercise," D'Amico said.
D'Amico said he did not set out to prove anything, rather this was a personal challenge.
"If you make good choices and better choices more often than not, you're going to have good results," D'Amico said in a previous interview with Patch. "There's diet, there's exercise, there's stress. There's a lot of things. That's something I try to tell people to keep in mind. Don't focus on one aspect look at things as a whole."
The L.A. Marathon was D'Amico's 15th. He ran track and cross country at Oak Forest High School and his first marathon in 1998.
D'Amico said he is planning future challenges and fundraisers for charity, but he does not anticipate that they will involve food. After all of this, is McRunner sick of McDonald's?
"People ask me, 'Are you tired of eating at McDonald's?' and I can honestly say 'No,'" D'Amico said. "I probably will have something from there this week. I'm a fan."