Marathoner Tom McGrath Headed On His Way to Annapolis
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New York pub owner, footballer and marathoner Tom McGrath is heading our way this Sunday. The 61-year-old Irish immigrant from Fermanagh is running 250 miles to Annapolis, MD, to raise awareness of and money for a memorial to Commodore John Barry, father of the American Navy, at the Naval Academy.
The AOH (McGrath is a member), The Commodore Barry Club (The Irish Center) in Philadelphia, and other organizations have raised nearly $200,000 to erect a memorial at the main pedestrian gate at the Annapolis facility honoring this son of Wexford and Philadelphia, who was the first to capture a British war vessel on the high seas during the Revolutionary War.
The memorial will eventually be a circular plaza with a bas-relief of Barry’s bust on an eight-foot high granite slab, and bronze plaques engraved with his commission from General George Washington and a short biography.
McGrath’s journey will take him to AOH Div. 1 in Bristol Borough at noon on Sunday. From there he will run on State Road south and will cross the bridge to Philadelphia at State Road and Grant Avenue. A piper and members of the board of the Commodore Barry Club will be there to meet him.
From there, McGrath will run down down Fitler Street to the Delaware River and the Delaware River Yacht Club, where he’ll stop to meet with the officers of the Delaware River Navy and others. He’ll run past the Glen Foerd mansion, then to Grant Avenue west to Frankford Avenue. He’ll head south on Frankford to Rhawn St., then to the hall of AOH 39 in Tacony where there will be a reception and fundraiser.
Runners are invited to jog alongside McGrath at any point in his run.
On Monday, McGrath will visit the Irish Memorial at Front and Chestnut, old St. Mary’s Church on Fourth Street where Barry is buried, and the Barry statue behind Independence Hall. He’ll run across the Ben Frankling Bridge, south to Bridgeport, then cross the river again over the Commodore Barry Bridge before heading south to Annapolis.