Updated: Nov 7
71-Year-Old NYC Bar Owner and recovering alcoholic to run 100 miles – three marathons in three days – the fourth day run the New York City Marathon.
(New York City – Nov. 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th) - Tom McGrath, 71, New York City bar owner and former Trans-America record-holder will run three marathons in three days at the Central Park Reservoir from November 4th to November 7th, then follow that by running the New York City Marathon on November 7th. Coinciding with the release of “Saved by My Feet,” a documentary of his own battles with alcohol, McGrath hopes to raise awareness for those who struggle with addiction and for the NYC-based charity Tunnels 2 Towers.
In 2010, Tom McGrath had 10 days to live. The famed ultrarunner had once crossed the United States on foot faster than anyone on record – he’d carried the Olympic torch through the streets of Manhattan – he’d emigrated to the United States from Ireland and started a string of successful bars. Now, he had drunk himself into oblivion. “If I get out of here,” he told the doctor at NYU, “I’m going to run. I’m going to run to help people.”
Fate shined on McGrath and since, he’s run thousands of miles for charity. He helped Achilles Kids get shoes for underprivileged children. In 1989, he ran 1,000 miles around Central Park’s reservoir for Project Children. He would repeat the feat four more times: three for the pediatric unit at Memorial Sloan and once for UNICEF. Now it’s Tunnels 2 Towers, a NYC-based charity for first responders of 9/11.
Now 71, McGrath is attempting to inspire a new generation. On October 15th, a documentary on the highs and lows of his struggle will go live on iTunes and Google Play. “Saved by My Feet.” He will follow that in November with a string of marathons that most runners half his age would find outrageous.
More on Tom here.
Like many, his business took a hit during COVID, only re-opening this August. He’s had to fight to keep his bar and his sobriety alive. His hope is to show that no matter your age, no matter your struggle, you too can do something great if you just go the extra mile.
Tom McGrath was born in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland in 1950. He is a former all-Ireland footballer and a pioneer of the sport of ultrarunning. He is the owner of The Black Sheep, a restaurant and pub in midtown Manhattan.
Elise Levine Cooper