Tom McGrath will be trading the streets of Manhattan for the highways and byways of Ireland this week
By Irish Echo Staff
Ultra-distance runner Tom McGrath, who lives in New York and hails from Fermanagh, is taking to the roads again this week for another long distance trot, this time from Belfast to Dublin.
Tom is inviting people to run or walk the route with him – and all in aid of Jigsaw Ireland, an organization that helps troubled youth.
Joanne Ryan, National Campaign Officer for Jigsaw said: “We are thrilled that Tom has chosen to support Jigsaw.
“He has set himself an amazing challenge and we know he will give it everything as he has shown such a commitment to supporting young people’s mental health in Ireland both by example and through his fundraising efforts. He has engaged communities all the way from Belfast down to Dublin to spread our message and we look forward to cheering him across the finish line in Croker!”
Tom will set off after a rally event Tuesday at St. Mary’s University College in Belfast and will first run to St. Mary’s GAA Club in Burren, County Down.
From there he will run to Dundalk in County Louth, then Drogheda. The final leg will take him to Croke Park and the first All Ireland football semi-final day on Saturday.
A hundred miles is a long run but Tom McGrath, at least in his younger years, would have viewed it as a warm-up.
Tom will be running a marathon or more each day for 3.5 days. He is a former world record holder for running across the USA. Tom has completed many long distance runs for charity and this will be his final one. Or so he says.
Sure, Tom’s 69 but he has the build of a man half that age. He could easily get restless at 70.
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.
The list of event venues during Tom’s run is: August 6th, Belfast. St Mary’s University College at 3 p.m. August 7th, Burren, Co. Down. St. Mary’s GAA Club at 7 p.m. August 8th, Dundalk, Clann na Gael GAA Club at 7 p.m. August 9th, Drogheda, O'Raghallaighs GAA Club at 7 p.m. August 10th, Dublin, Maldron Hotel, Pearse Street, at 8.30 p.m.
There is also a book about Tom’s life, “The Black Sheep” and it is available on Amazon. To make donations to Tom for his Belfast to Dublin run go to www.give.everydayhero.com/ie/north-to-south-run-2019.