Will prowess on the ice and grace on the dance floor lead to speed on the streets of New York City?
Former New York Rangers great Nick Kypreos and Dancing With The Stars champion J.R. Martinez will be out to answer that question in the ING New York City Marathon on November 4.
The participation of both stars was announced today.
In Toronto, viewers of Sportsnet 590 The FAN's HOCKEY CENTRAL @ Noon learned not only that Kypreos—a hockey analyst for the station—will run, but also that Sportsnet will be the exclusive Canadian broadcaster of the 2012 ING New York City Marathon, airing the race for the first time in the network’s history.
"I may have some extra time on my hands this fall, and thought the challenge of training for the New York City Marathon would keep me more than occupied," said Kypreos, member of the 1994 Stanley Cup Champion New York Rangers. "It's been 15 years since I've trained as a pro athlete, and this type of training is like nothing I've experienced before. I'm honored to be returning to New York to participate in one of its greatest events. I'll probably see more of the city on the 26.2 mile course than I did during the three years I was there with the Rangers!"
Kypreos, 46, is following in the footsteps of several other former NHL players, including Pat LaFontaine and Kypreos's former Rangers teammates Mark Messier, Adam Graves, and Mike Richter.
Martinez, a U.S. Army veteran, actor, and motivational speaker, will start as the last runner in the field. For every runner he passes, Timex will donate $1 to New York Road Runners Youth Programs.
“I have learned to embrace every challenge and I am especially excited to train for the ING New York City Marathon,” said Martinez, best known for his role in ABC’s daytime drama All My Children and as the season 13 winner of Dancing With The Stars. “As a motivational speaker, I want to continue to spread the message that you can accomplish anything that you put your mind to. I’m excited that together, Timex and I will make an impact on the lives on children benefitting from NYRR Youth Programs.”
Martinez began his motivational speaking career after being severely burned on 34 percent of his body in 2003 while deployed in Iraq. Since then, he has traveled the country spreading his message of resilience and optimism. His book, Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength and Spirit, will be published on October 30.
Photo of Martinez (right): Courtesy of Micaela Bensko
“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