Update: She's not the first to try it. “McRunner” Joe D'Amico pulled the same stunt before the L.A. Marathon earlier this year, and lived to tell the tale. Finished 29th, even!

It's psychotic enough to go on a strict McDonald's diet while filming an award-winning documentary. But to only eat McDonald's while training for a 26-mile marathon?

Oh, Emily Strunk-Heim. Aside from your death wish, you seem so normal, and sane! But as Arizona station KPHO notes in its painfully local-news lede, “Emily Strunk-Heim is not your typical athlete.” (Groan.) Instead, she's a fast-food addict with a dream to help cancer victims avoid the fate of her late little brother, through the Ronald McDonald charity. Two birds, one stone!

“I love running. I love fast food. If I can put the two together and raise money for charity, why not?” she asks the station, rhetorically. Strunk-Heim has promised to eat nothing but McDonald's during her month of training for the Long Beach Marathon.

Here's the kind of nutritional awareness we're working with here:

“To me, this is like a well-rounded meal,” says the self-proclaimed “McRunnerette” as she points to the pieces of deep-fried chicken, french fries and burgers. “I've got carbs, I got protein.” …

When not chowing down on Mickey D's, “I live on ice cream, candy, fast food, pizza. Strawberry banana smoothie — that's how I get my vitamin C,” Strunk-Helm says.

Good lord, woman. You do know that's not, like, chicken, right? Sorry if we're being super L.A./Whole Foodsy right now, but the sympathy clogs we're feeling for your arteries have almost begun to kill us, too, vicariously.

It'd be one thing if Strunk-Heim was scraping by on the semi-healthy-looking corner of the McDonalds menu, like 20 orders of apple slices or hella fruit-n-yogurt parfaits with some cheat packets of protein powder.

But six days into this thing, it appears she's completely stoked on the worst of it. Almost like the runner is secretly happy Ronald is the one who helps cancer children, so she can stop by more often! (There must be other ways to raise money for sick kids, right? Even McDonald's should have the self-awareness to admit that hardcore workouts on chicken strips aren't such a good idea.)

How far can a girl run on empty calories?; Credit: runlongbeach.com

How far can a girl run on empty calories?; Credit: runlongbeach.com

Strunk-Heim says her only worry, at this point, is not eating enough McDonald's. “My biggest concern is the logistics of it, getting to McDonald's during the day,” she tells KGBTV. “I don't eat three meals a day. I kind of eat all day long.”

Emily: We wish you all the luck in the world for the October 9 race, and in the weeks leading up to it. But if there's anything we can do to talk you out of this, let us know.


LA Weekly