When he was with the New York Giants, Amani Toomer's(notes) job as wide receiver and occasional kick returner was to run past people. On Sunday, he was tasked with the same job, albeit in a much different venue.
Toomer, who retired in 2009 while holding most of the Giants' major receiving records, competed in Sunday's New York City Marathon as part of a fundraising effort for a local NYC charity. He started dead last on purpose and attempted to pass as many people as he could. For every person he ran by during the race, Timex said it would donate $1 to the New York Road Runner's Club youth programs. When he completed the race, Toomer estimated he ran past 20,000 of the 46,000 runners in the 26.2-mile event.
He began training for the marathon six months ago. At first, he told NorthJersey.com, the transition to long-distance running was difficult. Toomer was used to the short sprint workouts of the NFL. He measured his time running in seconds, not hours. In those first few weeks, Toomer didn't know how he was ever going to run more than 40 minutes.
As the summer progressed, he became more confident and soon was training miles a day, following a detailed workout plan sent to him by the 2009 U.S. Amateur Triathlete of the Year. In the marathon, Toomer finished in a little more than four hours, breaking the record set by Hall of Famer Lynn Swann, who previously held the mark for the fastest time in the NYC Marathon by a former NFL player.
At the end of the race, Toomer had a familiar feeling that he shared with ESPN New York. "It feels a lot like the end of a football game actually," he said.