Rob Gronkowski may sprint like a pro, but the New England Patriots tight end said he’s into his volunteer work for the long run.
With his brothers and father at his side, Gronkowski presented $70,000 to New England Sports Programs on behalf of his namesake foundation during a CharityTeams fundraising event Friday night at the Harvard Club of Boston.
The Gronk Nation Youth Foundation, which raises money for youth sports, community activities, education, and fitness, also has its own charity team seeking to cross the finish line on Marathon Monday. As of Friday night, the team had raised about $90,000, a portion of more than $5 million raised among 26 CharityTeams-affiliated organizations in the past year.
Gronk spoke with Boston.com about how much he loves the spirit of the Boston Marathon, what runners should remember when things get tough, and whether he could run 26.2 miles.
Boston.com: Why did you want a team represented in the Boston Marathon over the past few years?
Rob Gronkowski: Well, we’ve had a team for a few years now, and it’s just always important being a part of the Boston community using my name [with] the Gronk Nation Youth Foundation. I feel like this helps out so much. And these people are just doing such a great job out there, raising money for the Boston sport schools around here. Tonight we are giving out a check, and it’s just an awesome feeling to see that stuff.
How does the spirit of the marathon reflect that of the New England sports community that you know and love?
The New England sports fan community is just the No. 1 sports fan community out there. It just represents so much what the Boston Marathon represents. Everyone comes together, cheering. It’s awesome to be part of. It’s wild, filled with so much passion, and it just brings everyone together.
What is your favorite part of Marathon Monday?
[I have] a lot of favorite parts! I’d have to go with my team, though: The Gronk Nation Youth Foundation Team. They’re doing a great job training, raising money, and my favorite part will be and has been to see them go through the finish line.
You’re on your own marathon, of sorts, in recovering from an injury. What advice do you have for Monday’s runners to help them stay motivated and get through tough or challenging moments on the course?
You just never gotta stop, knowing that your body can keep up. You just have to get in that right mindset that you’re going to finish. When you’re already halfway through, you know you can do another half. They’ve been training hard and doing everything they need to do, so I know they’ll be ready to roll. Just get in that mindset that you are going to do it from the beginning.
Where are you going to be on Monday?
Well, we have practice on Monday to start out, but then I’ll be watching for sure.
Do you ever think you’ll run a marathon yourself?
Ahh, I don’t know. I’m always more in football shape, which is more sprints. The marathon I might have to train for after football season one time to see if I would last. Maybe I’ll start with a lower one, like a 5K first.
Photos: The Boston Marathon through the years: