Last weekend, thousands of runners took part in the 2010 ING NYC Marathon. With an estimated 46,000 people, the race is one of the largest and most popular running events in the world. Most participants endure months of grueling training and arrive at the starting line eager to begin their 26.2-mile trek. But one runner, selected to start dead last.
His name is Amani Toomer, former wide receiver for the New York Giants, and his run from Staten Island to Central Park took on special meaning thanks to a unique fundraising opportunity from Timex. For every person Toomer ran by, Timex agreed to donate $1 to New York Road Runner’s Club Youth program, a local charity that promotes distance running, health, and fitness. To pass as many people as possible, Toomer selected to start very last.
He finished the race in 4:13 – just outside his goal of under four hours, but still fast enough to break 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 4:23. Is it estimated that Toomer passed 20,000 people on his way to the finish line.
Raising money for charity is always a great idea. Sponsoring or donating to a particular runner is certainly not uncommon, but there is something refreshing about the way Timex went about this.
It’s interesting. It’s engaging. It makes for a great story before, during, and after the event.
My hat is off to Timex for recognizing an excellent opportunity to donate thousands of dollars to a local charity while tastefully promoting their company.
Pete Deluca is an Associate Account Executive. Contact him at email@example.com.