Profile - Clem
McGrath, the Emerald Isle's Gift to the Westerly Track and Athletic Club
you are lucky enough to be spending time in the Misquamicut area during the summer
or fall, or frequenting area road races during this time, chances are good you
have met or will be meeting Clem McGrath. If you happen across a tall, 60ish,
handsome, athletic gentleman (who you have to be in good shape to keep up with)
and his face is beaming with an infectious Irish smile, it's probably Clem.
has been part of the local running community for years and has a vast array of
accomplishments, and has some very good
advice for aging athletes and runners (see below).
However, being a premier runner as a young man, coupled with his more recent successes,
he has some valuable wisdom to pass on to runners of ALL ages.
young runners just entering the sport, Clem advises that the most important thing
is to keep it fun. Although hard work can bring success, it is important to nurture
and develop your love of running and this early stage of development should include
more pleasure (fun) than pain (rigorous training).
scholastic runners (high school and college), the time has come to run to your
potential. It is important not to take all the fun and enjoyment out of your running,
but do realize that this is your turn to shine and the opportunities you have
now, will not come again. Your achievements during this period cannot be duplicated
later in life, so make the most of these golden years of opportunity and accomplishment.
Your successes now will stay with you for a lifetime, and no one can ever take
away from you the things you achieve today.
aging runners, staying healthy becomes a paramount issue. Clem suggests that you
not ignore waring signs and be sure to get yourself checked out if you do not
feel normal. The article below goes into
his personal experience in this area and how you can benefit from it.
you do not already know Clem, he is a gracious and knowledgeable ambassador for
the sport of running, and making his acquaintance is sure to enrich your life.
If you already know Clem, you know why this is true.
of ) Clem McGrath's Accomplishments
student at Norwich Free Academy.
a member of the Cross Country Team, in 1956 won none straight dual and triangular
meets breaking NFA course record; won the Eastern Connecticut Sectional meet in
record time; won the CIAC State Open Cross Country Championship; led NFA to the
team state title; participated in the Manchester Road Race, finishing 17th and
was the first high school runner to finish.
1957, was undefeated in the track mile in the State of Connecticut; won the State
Track Open Championship in record time; and broke the University of Connecticut's
Cross Country Freshman record by 32 seconds.
1958, finished third to Johnny Kelly and Norm Higgins in the Westerly Elks 5-mile
a 14 year "retirement" from running, Clem returned as a member of the
Mohegan Striders and was a consistent top three finisher in the Master's Division
and Grandmaster Division; he has been a Mohegan Strider Grandmaster Club Circuit
Champion for 1990, 1991 and 1992; and a 1990 and 1991 member of the TAC Grandmasters
State Championship Team.
1992, Clem was inducted in the Norwich Sports Hall of Fame.
1993, William L Satti, Mayor of the City of New London, proclaimed Saturday, August
7th to be CLEMENT "Clem" P. MCGRATH DAY in the City of New London.
2000, Mohegan Strider Veterans Division Grand Prix Champion; and fourth in his
division at Manchester.
In Doubt, Get Checked Out
- by Clem McGrath
February 2001, while escaping the Connecticut winter weather in sunny Florida,
I had open heart surgery (5-way bypass). This came as quite a shock to me as I
get an annual physical and the basic risk factors (high blood pressure and high
cholesterol) were not there.
retired from Electric Boat in 1999 and had been concentrating on my training as
I entered the 60+ age division. I had a pretty good racing season in 2000 with
divisional wins at Rose Arts and Kelley and a fourth place finish at Manchester.
you know, we runners are a strange breed, especially when it comes to denial.
Speaking for myself, I write off most discomforts as a "bad day", "I
have a little cold", or "It's not easy after 60". The concern I
have is "how many runners out there are like me?" The "running
boom" came a little behind me so there are many runners approaching their
"golden years" and, like myself, are not listening to the body signals.
I can look back to last fall <fall of 2000> when I experienced some chest
discomfort and achy joints and attributed it to the Connecticut weather. I figured
once I got to Florida, I would feel better.
here I am doing speed workouts and hill repeats on the Ft Myers Beach Bridge in
preparation for the The Edison Festival of Lights 5K, and my discomforts are persisting.
A week before the race, I decide to go to a Walk-In Clinic convinced that I had
Lyme Disease. After an examination by the doctor (who happened to be a runner),
he thought the symptoms were heart related and recommended I put the running shoes
aside until I had a stress test. I had never had a stress test and thought it
might not be a bad idea to rule out any possible heart problem. To my complete
surprise, I failed the stress test and the rest is history.
heaven there was no heart damage and I'm looking forward to full recovery, but
I was lucky. How many runners, with no risk factors, are gambling their lives
by not listening to their bodies. Genetics is a major risk factor that is easily
important lesson to be learned here is that, if you have any question as to why
you feel the way you do, especially if it persists, don't blow it off. See someone
and get it checked out. It could save your life.