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NFL stars run half marathon for a worthy cause

American football players rarely run more than 1.25 miles in a game. That’s 2km. So how would they fare over 13.1 miles in a half marathon?

Eleven minutes. That’s the average length of actual game time in an NFL fixture. But as any football fan knows, what the sport lacks in minutes on the field, it makes up for in intensity. 


Receivers and cornerbacks are the players who cover most ground, at around 1.25 miles (2 kilometers) per game. It might not sound like much, but consider there are 11 huge opposing athletes heading their way as soon as they set off. Yeah. It’s impressive. 


This means cornerbacks like Buster Skrine of the New York Jets (pictured center, below) still have to be tough enough to fly into oncoming tackles. His training therefore focuses on strength and explosive power over endurance. 


But Skrine likes a challenge. With the Jets’ season over, he recruited some fellow NFL stars to join him in taking on the Miami Half Marathon to raise money for the Boys and Girls Club of America’s New York and Atlanta chapters. 



Joining Buster were fellow Jets, including defensive backs Marcus Maye and Terrence Brooks as well as defensive ends Leonard Williams and Henry Anderson. Marcus Williams, who plays for the Chicago Bears, completed the all-star Run Crew. 


Kitted out in On Performance Shoes and Apparel, the players got to preparing themselves to go the distance over 13.1 miles. Crossing the finish line would be no mean feat, especially for the linesmen, who weigh in at around 300lb (136kg).  So how did the training differ from the regular football drills?


“Instead of doing the usual routine with explosive workouts, I started my day by running three-four miles and then I ran another three-four miles at night.” Buster explained. 


It was a different approach for the Bears’ Marcus Williams: “I started training last second,” he admitted. “I was nervous that I wouldn’t finish.” 



All athletes did finish the race, with Buster first across the line in 1:59:58. It wasn’t easy going but teamwork helped the group touch down at the finish. 


“Before the race I was nervous because I’ve never run 13 miles,” Leonard Williams said after the race. “But the only thing on my mind was finishing. During the run I was motivated because I saw people running while pushing wheelchairs, even juggling tennis balls and fans cheering me on.”


“I felt like even though there were so many people, we were running as a unit,” Buster added. “We were all different ages, sizes, and races but we all just wanted to get to the finish line. After I finished I felt like I had accomplished a huge goal. My legs were shot but in the end it was an awesome experience and I'll be back to do it again. 



As he had predicted, Marcus had a tough time out there, but is also up for a repeat next year, with a little more preparation. 


“At the start I felt great because I was with all of my friends and the energy was high.” he said. But during the race, around mile six, I felt the monkey jump on my back and was feeling guilty because I had to start walking. At the end of the race it was a relief just to pass the finish line. I'm motivated to come back and beat my time from this year. I’ll actually train next time!”


For all the players, quitting was never an option, driven on by raising funds for the work the Boys and Girls Club of America does to help children. 


“Honestly, that’s the only reason I came to run.” Marcus said. “I have a son and I know how important it is for kids to have support.”


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