NEW YORK (AP) — Former New York Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer spent his career dodging defenders. He took advantage of those sidestepping skills during the New York City Marathon, earning $1 from Timex for every runner he passed.
Toomer, who started in last place, said he passed about 20,000 of the 45,000 runners in the five-borough race. The proceeds will go to the New York Road Runners youth programs.
Toomer is believed to be the first former NFL player to enter the race since Lynn Swann finished it in 1993. His goal was to complete the race under 4 hours, and he crossed the line in 4:13. (Swann finished in 4:26:21.)
Toomer presented digital and GPS watches to rescued miner Edison Pena when he arrived in New York City on Thursday. Pena was among 33 miners rescued last month after a cave-in trapped them nearly a half-mile underground for 69 days. After food arrived to the miners, he ran 6 to 7 miles each day to keep his spirits up. Despite a bum knee, Pena finished the marathon in 5:40:51.
“A lot of coaches try to get you to persevere, it’s all speeches,” Toomer said. “You just feel his perseverance.”
By running for the NYRR youth programs, Toomer hopes to get more kids involved in sports. Toomer participated in steeple chase and played basketball in high school in Berkeley, Calif.
“A group goes into schools and teaches kids how to run properly, the right diet and an idea of how to exercise safely,” he said. “It’s giving kids an opportunity to have something productive to do after school.”
Toomer said he gained 20 to 30 pounds after his 12-year career with the Giants ended in 2008, but “now I’m a little under my rookie-year weight at 202 pounds.”
Toomer had 668 catches for 9,497 yards and 54 touchdowns in New York.