Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


August 15, 2013

Andover’s McGrath molding young runners, still starring

McGrath molding young runners, while still striding himself


When should youngsters start running distances?

“I’m no expert, but I think it can be dangerous to run more than a few miles per week before they’re 12 or 13. Kids are still growing and there’s the danger of getting burned out mentally and physically, especially if they’re being pushed by parents.”

What’s your best advice for avoiding injuries?

“I encourage kids to always run on soft surfaces. I caution against running on pavement and I encourage trail running. There are so many places around here, at parks, reservations, where you can do it.

“Footwear is also a big issue. Some parents purchase a lower-quality shoe for their kids and that’s a big mistake.”

What’s your opinion of cross training? Is it a valuable tool or is the best way to become a better runner just to stick to running?

“I think for those who can stand the stress and volume needed, they should spend their time with running. But if they can’t, (cross training) can be beneficial.”

What’s the best alternative sport to running?

“A lot of people will disagree with me, but I think it’s cycling. A couple of years ago, because of some injuries, I had to take some time off and I got into cycling. After I’d been doing it for quite awhile, I decided to run a 10K race and I ran around 33 minutes having done very little running. That told me something.”

Does coaching others help you with your own running?

“Absolutely. When I give others a workout, it reminds me that I should be doing the same thing. I see how hard others are working at it and I know I need to do the same thing.”

What races are you most proud of?

“I’m proud of my second marathon, finishing ninth at Cape Cod (in 2:39:13), and I’m proud of returning and winning the Boston Prep race.”

Any future running goals?

I want to improve my marathon time when I run in the Manchester Marathon (in November) and I want to do well in the New England Grand Prix (series).”

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