Tom McGrath pounding the asphalt
By Irish Echo Staff
Tom Mcgrath is getting used to big stadiums.
A couple of weeks ago it was Croke Park in Dublin.
Wednesday night of this week it will be Citi Field in Queens, New York where he will be throwing out the first pitch in a game pitting the home team Mets against the visiting Chicago Cubs.
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The Croke Park appearance was the climax of a hundred mile run from Belfast to Dublin in aid of Jigsaw Ireland, an organization that helps troubled youth.
By Tom’s standards a hundred miles is no great distance.
Then again, he is now 69 and putting on the brakes.
Tom ran a marathon or more each day for 3.5 days on his Irish foray.
The Fermanagh native is not your typical one year short of seventy type of guy.
McGrath is a former world record holder for running across the USA. He has completed many long distance runs for charity and the Belfast to Dublin run was, he says, his final one.
In 1977, McGrath broke the Trans-Am world record, running from New York to San Francisco in 53 days.
He became a staple in the New York area for running six marathons in six days, year after year, to bring athletic shoes to kids in need.
Three years in a row, he looped the reservoir in Central Park for 1,000 miles to help various charities.
Tom is the owner of the Black Sheep bar and restaurant in Midtown Manhattan. A documentary on his life entitled “Every Five Minutes” was awarded winner for best short documentary at the Big Apple Film Festival. There is also a book about Tom’s life, “The Black Sheep” and it is available on Amazon.
It for his charitable work down the years that Tom, lately dubbed “the Irish Forrest Gump” by the New York Times, has been accorded the honor of taking to the Citi field pitchers’ mound.
He will be delivering his fast ball at 6.50 p.m. Wednesday evening.