The strange looks began when he walked into Texaco’s Touring Center in New York City several months ago and asked the man behind the desk to plot a jogging trip across the United States for him. “The fellow looked at me as if he thought I were crazy,” Mr. McGrath said in his fine Irish brogue. “I guess you do have to be a little crazy.”
This morning at 10:30 Mr. McGrath plans to set off from City Hall for San Francisco. The runner hopes to reach San Francisco by October 24, covering an average of 70 miles a day along secondary roads through cities and farmland, over the Rocky Mountains and across the Mojave Desert.
A chance encounter with a jogger who had run from Florida to Maine gave him the idea for his cross country run. He sold the bar he bought four years ago and went into training.
He met with similar astonishment from his father and 11 brothers and sisters in Ireland who feared he might be going through a suicidal phase. “They can’t believe I run 60 miles a day. In Ireland people are easygoing.”
Mr. McGrath will be accompanied by three friends and Mena Monaghan, his childhood sweetheart who grew up across the street from him in the village of Ederney County Fermanagh and who became his wife yesterday afternoon.
When he arrives at San Francisco City Hall he said he will probably “get drunk.” He recently acquired another bar called the Irish Marathon Inn.
NYT Dunning 8/29/77