As the Panthers and Broncos get set to square off in Super Bowl 50, some runners gathered in Central Park to get in some exercise before couching out for the big game. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner has more on the New York Road Runners Gridiron Run.

Think of it as the ultimate pre-game. Over 5,000 runners touched down in Central Park Sunday for some early morning Super Bowl fun.  Before warming up their legs, they got to test their arms in the longest football throw contest.

"I practiced a little in the park yesterday so I feel okay," said Jamie Rothbart. "I was going for 20 and I got 20."

"I could have gone 60 yards, but you know, I needed another cup of coffee I guess," said Ryan Brown.

After that, it was off to a four-mile race.

The winner — Harbert Okuti — crossed the finish line in 19 minutes and 19 seconds.

The fastest female was hot on his heels with a final time of 22:28.

"I won $500," said winner Allie Keiffer. 

Question: "That's not bad. Are you going to bet that money on the Super Bowl?" 

"No!" said Keiffer. "I'm going to keep all of it."

For many, this event is the first race of the season.  It's also a chance to show their pigskin pride by donning their favorite team's uniform.

"You have lots of folk out here that will be wearing their jerseys and their hats from all the teams all over the NFL," said President of New York Road Runners Peter Ciaccia. "You'll see the Panthers, the Giants, the Jets." 

"I will be a diehard Eagles fan no matter what happens, and hopefully we'll see another Super Bowl one day," said one fan.

Runners say this race also gives them a chance to work off some of the calories they'll be eating while they watch the big game.

"I know I'm going to eat a lot tonight," said Asaf Shkalim. "This lessens the calorie blow that I'm going to endure.

"You've got to run in the morning to eat later," said Jamie Rothbart.

They also got to vote for the Super Bowl winner by running toward a specific sign.

 "I went with the Broncos, mostly trying to guess what less people might guess," said Brad Heyman.

In this match up at least, Denver takes the Lombardi Trophy.

"The runners are always correct," Ciaccia said of the prediction.

That's something to consider as you race to place your bet.