FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kelly Gneiting preparing assault on Guinness World Record Sunday
Runners who ran 106 marathons in a year, another who prepped
by eating only at McDonald's share their stories
LOS ANGELES, March 19, 2011 – Kelly Gneiting is not someone to be toyed
with, not at six feet tall and some 400 pounds. When he speaks, he does so
"I am a sumo wrestler and I've represented in the United States for last
seven years at the World Sumo Championships or World Games," he said at a
Saturday news conference at Dodger Stadium prior to the 2011 Honda LA
Marathon presented by K-Swiss.
"I don't think anyone has used the word 'marathon' and 'sumo' in the same
sentence," he noted. "I like the aspect of the two opposite-spectrum sports
– sumo and marathon running – coming together, and I love a challenge. If
anyone would sponsor me, I'd love to swim the English Channel at 400
pounds. I love the thought of 400 pounds and showcasing what a 400-pound
person can do. A lot of America is overweight. Just because you are
overweight, you don't need to let that stop you from accomplishing
anything. A little piece of that will be shown tomorrow when I complete the
Gneiting, who weighted in during the news conference at 400.8 pounds, will
be trying to set a Guinness World Record for the heaviest person to ever
complete a marathon; the current record is 275 pounds. He and three other
amazing marathoners shared their stories.
Joe D'Amico of Palatine, Illinois is a quality runner, with a lifetime best
just under two hours and 37 minutes. But for the 2011 Honda LA Marathon, he
has not only dedicated himself to raising money for the Ronald McDonald
House Charities, but decided to eat only at McDonald's for the last 30 days
prior to the race.
"This will be my 15th marathon," he noted. "Heading into it, I was looking
for a bigger challenge. I started at 4:16 and worked my way down to 2:37
last year. I love a challenge and I am a big fan of McDonald's and a big
fan of running. I thought, let's combine two things that really don't go
together. That's when I came up with the McRunner challenge.
"I originally was going to do this for 60 or 90 days and my wife talked me
down to 30 days. It started out as a personal challenge, but the response
from people was overwhelming and we decided to take it up a notch. We
decided to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. It's been
an unbelievable experience. In the last 15 days we've raised $23,000 and
our Facebook site is unbelievable; we have 23,000 fans. I've got so many
people behind me and this had been so much fun.
"I pay for all my hotcakes and hamburgers, all my food, all my running
shoes. I have no sponsors. I'm just a regular guy trying to do something a
little bit different and trying to have fun and do a good thing while we're
at it." He has complete details of his effort - including his meal menus
for all 30 days - at McRunner.com.
Self-described "marathon maniac" Yolanda Holder is a walker, who finishes
consistently in about six hours. But she is also a tri-Guinness World
Record holder for the most marathons finished in a single year, with 106 in
Asked why she did it, she said, "Two years ago for my 50th birthday, I
decided I wanted to do something different. I wanted to walk 50 marathons
in 52 weeks. I didn't accomplish that; I ended up doing 65 marathons and
became 'Marathon Maniac of the Year.' In 2009 I continued to walk marathons
and did 77 marathons and became 'Marathon Maniac of the Year' again. So
then I decided I'd go for the Guinness World Record. A lady over in Italy
had done 100 marathons in 2002. I decided to break her record and do 101
marathons. I didn't accomplish that either; I ended up doing 106 and ended
up tying the male record holder. Why did I do it? I don't know . . . I
guess I'm a maniac, I'm crazy."
Returning to Los Angeles for an "easy" race is Danish runner Marie-Louise
Stenild, who became the first woman to run seven marathons in seven days in
seven continents in late October and early November 2010. "This is my first
marathon since I did the seven marathons," she said. "I'm really excited to
be back and see everyone who helped me when I ran in L.A. It's a bit weird,
I'll be able to sleep in a bed before I go for the race and I don't have to
rush to the airport after."
Gneiting is more than confident of reaching his goal, especially after
completing the 2008 Los Angeles race on a whim, in 11 hours, 52 minutes and
11 seconds. "It was the hardest day of my life," he remembered. "It was
hell. I had blisters all over my feet. I wondered if my pinkie toes were
going to fall off, on and on. I finished it. That was the big thing. I
trained about four days a week for about 3-4 months last time. I drove a
semi-truck, which is not exactly a fitness job.
"This time I've trained six days a week instead of four. This time I've
done everything I can to prepare for this marathon and stay in my sumo
shape. I've dropped 25 pounds from three years ago and so this is automatic
for me. I WILL complete this marathon."
Who would tell him otherwise?