Joe Morris, who helped the New York Giants win Super Bowl XXI, was back on the field yesterday. This time, it was to cheer for the 3,002 runners who completed the inaugural New York Giants Run of Champions 5K presented by Walgreens and Duane Reade, and the Walk with Walgreens.
Morris, who played professional football from 1982 to 1991, was asked how the 5,585 yards he ran in his career compared to the 5,468 yards of the 5K he had just witnessed.
“They don’t have to avoid anybody,” he said. “Just potholes. Somebody’s trying to kill you, it’s a whole different game.”
But, he conceded, “three miles is a long way.”
Winning the race, which finished in the end zone of MetLife Stadium, benefited The Giants Foundation and NYRR programming, was Aaron Somoroff, of the Bronx, in 16:03. First across the line for the women was Lauren Carter of the Central Park Track Club New Balance, in 18:34.
“I am a huge Giants fan, and winning this race is really exciting for me,” she said. “Plus my friends are going to be insanely jealous of the football signed by Eli Manning.”
The top three men and women all received gift bags of gear, including footballs signed by the 2012 Super Bowl champions.
Among the runners was Amani Toomer, the retired Giants receiver who ran the 2010 ING New York City Marathon. Toomer finished in 27:45. Along with Morris, former New York Giants greats who greeted the runners included Rodney Hampton, Jeff Feagles, Howard Cross, Stephen Baker, and former running back Ottis Anderson, who was asked how long it would take him to run five kilometers.
“I’ve got over 10,000 yards rushing, so I think I’m ready to go,” said Anderson, who on Sunday settled for high-fiving Toomer at the finish.
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg