Hockey Hall of Famer Mark Messier plans to run next month’s New York City Marathon.
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The six-time Stanley Cup champion will take on the 26.2 miles Nov. 6 in the city where he captained the Rangers to their first title in 54 years.
Two of his teammates from that 1994 squad, Adam Graves and Mike Richter, have run the marathon in recent years.
Messier was looking for a challenge after turning 50 in January and to raise awareness and money for two charities: the New York Police & Fire Widow’s and Children’s Benefit Fund and Tomorrows Children’s Fund, which helps kids with cancer and serious blood disorders.
He doesn’t have a trainer, doing extensive research on the science of running and building his own training plan, with a lot of trial and error thrown in. Messier runs by himself on the roads of Greenwich, Conn., with no headphones.
"It’s been an incredible form of meditation, actually, for me, a great way to contemplate and jump inside your own head and think," he said Thursday at a ceremony at the Empire State Building. "That’s been very gratifying for me. In a way it’s been a 10-month prayer for these charities."
Messier has been training intensely for the last seven months, recently completing his longest planned training run of 19 miles.
"I felt like I could never take another step the rest of my life," he said, adding that he was pleased with how quickly he recovered. "My feet were sore, killing me. Every bone in my body ached."