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Lake Michigan Survived But 'Fun Prevailed,' Says Guy Who Tried to Drink It

By Patty Wetli | January 10, 2016 1:10pm

THE SHORES OF LAKE MICHIGAN (STILL HERE) — Anyone inclined to take a dip in Lake Michigan today will find the body of water intact, if ever so slightly depleted by about five mugs full of liquid.

That guy who said he was going to drink the entire lake on Saturday? Yeah, he fell hundreds of thousands of gallons short.

Tim Mack discovers that despite his best efforts, Lake Michigan still exists. [Michael Courier]

In the case of Tim Mack vs. the lake, the lake may have won, but the 23-year-old Mack is still declaring victory.

"I don't know why I couldn't finish the lake. Maybe it was the rain. Or maybe some math was crunched wrong in the planning phase," Mack said in a closing statement he posted to Facebook.

"But I know one thing for sure. I didn't fail to finish the lake from a lack of love and support from all of you. The outpouring of support has been amazing and even though I didn't finish the lake I still feel like I succeeded," he wrote.

Mack posted his intention of drinking all of Lake Michigan to Facebook on Dec. 6, originally only informing friends. As soon as he switched the event from private to public, interest swelled from dozens to more than 16,000.

"It was wild," Mack told DNAinfo Chicago. "I think people like an underdog story."

Photographer Michael Courier was among those who stumbled onto Mack's story and attended the event Saturday afternoon at Montrose Avenue beach.

"Intrigued, and laughing, I thought this was a completely absurd and a completely fun idea and I wanted to see what happened next," Courier said in a blog post documenting Mack's historic attempt to drink the lake.

After weeks of training, Tim Mack did manage to drink several mugs of Lake Michigan water. [Michael Courier]

Here's how it went down: Mack arrived at the lake at about 2 p.m., was blindfolded and quaffed mugs of lake water for 10 minutes.

When the blindfold was removed, Mack saw that the lake remained.

Initially crushed by failure, a chorus of "Tim, Tim, Tim, Tim" from the gathered crowd convinced Mack that his weeks of training had not been in vain.

"I am touched by the outpouring of love and support I have received. Off the top of my head I can only recall about three negative comments I've read throughout the entire lake event timeline," Mack emailed DNAinfo Sunday morning.

Indeed, as one fan posted: "Tim may not have drank the whole lake, but he did drink his way into our hearts."

"Most people have recognized it as something fun and who doesn't love to have fun?" Mack said. "So I guess in the end fun prevailed."

To the naysayers and critics who questioned his motivation, calling him an "attention hog" and wondering "How is this news?" Mack has a question of his own.

"Why wouldn't you want to read an occasional news story that is not only something new and original but also uplifting in that nobody is getting hurt and someone is chasing a dream?" he asked.

"Even though I didn't finish the lake I still feel like I succeeded," Tim Mack said. [Michael Courier]

On Monday, Mack returns to work and normal life. He has no plans to drink other large bodies of water — "I'm not touching that," he said of queries about the Chicago River — though Mack said he may need to buy a pair of sunglasses "because the future is looking bright."

If nothing else, Mack hopes his attempt, however silly it may have seemed to some, serves as an inspiration to others.

"When life hands you a lake and says, 'You can't drink this. It is impossible,' you make sure to look life in the eyes and say, 'Just watch me,' and then grab your favorite mug and have at it."

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