NEW YORK • The Black Sheep pub in Midtown was crowded as usual on a recent Friday night, but there was a sense of urgency in the air. Regulars periodically put down their beers to go and wish good luck to the bar's owner, Mr Tom McGrath, 69, who sat wearing a tracksuit and drinking coffee from a mug.
As Mr McGrath shook their hands, he sometimes paused to massage his legs. "I never like sitting when I'm preparing for a run," he said. "Got to keep the blood moving." Posters around the bar illustrated with shamrocks, Irish flags and a photograph of him in jogging shorts indicated the cause of his well-wishers: He was flying to Ireland the next day to participate in a marathon, but it wasn't going to be any ordinary run.