SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions to begin, but one former KFOG radio host is about to wrap his up.
“Irish” Greg McQuaid has a duffle bag full of medals and shirts, each one commemorating a different marathon he’s run in every week of 2017.
“Napa, Santa Rosa, Sacramento,” McQuaid said as he put each medal around his neck. “Feels pretty heavy, I might need a neck brace after this.”
It was a year ago when McQuaid decided he wanted to run 52 marathons in 52 weeks, and he’s got one left to complete the challenge.
McQuaid immigrated from Ireland to work in the music and entertainment industry. At the time he smoked a pack of cigarettes to the day, and his mom was worried he was doing permanent damage to his health. After a sobering conversation with his family, McQuaid decided to change his path.
“She thought I was overweight and unhealthy before, now she thinks I’m crazy,” he quipped.
With his former self completely in the rearview mirror, McQuaid is at the very end of a year-long odyssey that will add over 1,300 miles on his personal odometer. The wear and tear on his frame wasn’t as taxing as he expected when it all started in January.
“In August I woke up with this twinge in my knee,” he said of his only significant nagging injury. “A medical doctor would have told me to stop, but I never consulted a medical doctor.”
McQuaid typically plods around the course, never aiming to set any records. Because there aren’t sanctioned marathons every week in the Bay Area, McQuaid had to figure out his own 26.1-mile route on ocassion — it ended up being the toughest part of the challenge.
“It wasn’t the hardest thing in the world,” he chuckled. “I know that sounds ridiculous, but I’m stubborn and said, ‘I’m just gonna do this.’”
McQuaid’s fitness has improved dramatically as he’s gotten older, but 52 marathons in 52 weeks hasn’t transformed him into a physical specimen.
“I like to eat whatever I want to eat, so I haven’t gotten super skinny or emaciated or any of those things that you would think,” he said while adding his desire to go to the gym more often next year.
The real winner in all of this is Breathe California, an advocacy group in the Bay Area that promotes clean air and lung health. McQuaid is a board member and hopes his challenge will raise money and awareness.
If people don’t donate because of his running, they certainly will for Pirate, his fluffy white one-eyed recuse dog that has over 7,000 followers on Instagram.
“I’m usurping his popularity to get the word out about my marathons,” McQuaid said.
Pirate is often spotted at the end of many marathons, but the dog and his owner are glad to finally reach the ultimate finish line.
“My plan is to sit on a beach in Cabo and drink margaritas, and then we’ll reassess everything.”