Tom McGrath (runner)

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Tom McGrath
Tom McGrath
McGrath c. 1997
Bornc. 1950 (age 72–73)
Ederney, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
EducationSt. Joseph Teacher-Training College, Belfast
Occupation(s)Bar Owner, NYC – The Black Sheep. Former PE Teacher
Known forUltra-running, Charity Work

Tom McGrath (born c. 1950 in Ederney, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.[1]) is an Irish-American ultra-runner. He has run over 200,000 miles to raise money for charities. Due to his 1977 run across America (which he did in a then-record 53 days) and other accolades, he has been nicknamed The Irish Forrest Gump.[1]

He played in two under-21 All-Ireland Finals in Gaelic football in 1970 and 1971; team came second both times.[citation needed]


In 1977, McGrath broke the world record for fastest crossing of the United States on foot – in 53 days and seven minutes. His record lasted for three years.[2][3] For five consecutive years, he ran 1,000 miles around New York’s Central Park for charity. In May 1991, McGrath received the Jefferson award sponsored by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for representing New York State for Charity Services.

Since the 1990s, McGrath has owned and run The Black Sheep, a bar in midtown Manhattan. He carried the Olympic Torch as part of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.[1]

In September 2016, McGrath published a memoir with author, Jared Beasley, titled The Black Sheep: The Fittest / Unfittest Bar Owner in New York.[citation needed]

Selected runs[edit]

Below is a select list of the numerous charity and non-charity runs McGrath has completed.

McGrath's runs
Date Run Time / Result
December 2017 Miles for Miracles - Boston to New York Run[4][5] 225 Miles, 7 Days
January 2013 Charity Cancer Run for Shane Hoey, at Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx, New York 5 Hours
December 2012 Charity Cancer Run for baby Oscar Knox, at Juniper Pk, Maspeth, Queens, New York 5 Hours
July 2012 250 Mile Solo Run for the John Barry Memorial at the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD[6] 8 Days
May 2012 500km Charity Run for Croi, West of Ireland 10 Days
October 2011 Six Counties 300 Miles Charity Run, Northern Ireland 10 Days
June 1999 10 Hour Charity Run, Bronx, New York 10 Hours
Summer 1996 Carried Olympic Torch through New York City for Atlanta Olympics N/A
October 1994 500 Miles - Raised $100,000 to rebuild Central Park Track N/A
October 1992 1,000 Mile Solo Run for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Dept. of Pediatrics 15 Days, 15.75 Hours
October 1991 1,000 Mile Solo Run for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Dept. of Pediatrics 15 Days, 4.5 Hours
October 1990 1,000 Mile Solo Run for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Dept. of Pediatrics 15 Days, 22 Hours
June 1989 1,000 Mile Solo Run for Project Children 16 Days, 21 Hours
June 1988 1,000 Mile IAU World Championship for UNICEF 3rd Place - 15 Days, 18 Hours
November 1987 New York - 5 Day Race 3rd Place - 357 Miles
November 1986 New York - 5 Day Race 4th Place - 291 Miles
January 1985 Pennsylvania - 48 Hour Race 224 Miles
November 1984 New York - 24 Hour Race 3rd Place - 130 Miles
July 1984 New York - 6 Day Race 326 Miles
July 1984 USA 100 Mile Championship 3rd Place - 14 Hours, 52 Minutes
June 1984 Kelly Games - 10 Hours 76 Miles
May 1984 Ireland - 24 Hour Race 1st Place - 126 Miles
March 1984 New York - 12 Hour Race 2nd Place - 76 Miles
December 1983 Great Irish Run for Mentally Handicapped, Solo 630 Miles, 7.5 Days
July 1981 New York Run for Charity 75 Miles
January 1978 Ireland Run for Charity 50 Miles
August 1977 New York to San Francisco - Guinness Book of Records for Fastest Time Cross Country 3,046 Miles - 53 Days, 7 Minutes - 57.1 Miles per day


  1. ^ a b c "'Irish Forrest Gump': 69-year-old returns to Ireland to run 161km one last time". Irish Times. August 19, 2019. Retrieved November 6, 2021.
  2. ^ "The Irish Times". The Irish Times.
  3. ^ Dunning, Jennifer (August 29, 1977). "The New York Times".
  4. ^ "Miles for Miracles Run". Irish Echo.
  5. ^ "Miles for Miracles Run". Murph Guide. December 2017.
  6. ^ "250 Mile Solo Run from Manhattan to Annapolis". 24 July 2012.