Ethan Zohn May Have Been Foolish To Run NYC Marathon

The New York City Marathon is always an inspirational run full of feats of bravery and endurance. It is a 26.2 mile run, after all. Some stories, of course, are more moving than others. Former Survivor contestant (and Season 3 winner) Ethan Zohn may have only run a 4:20 in the marathon itself -- men's winner Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya ran a 2:05 and set a course record -- but Zohn is a winner, through and through. Still, the question: Will he regret his decision?

It was only recently that the 37-year-old reality star found out the Hodgkin's Lymphoma that has been in remission for the past 20 months has returned. And as he ran the marathon on Sunday, he knew he would be starting chemotherapy again on Tuesday -- the day any marathoner knows is the sorest day. He is an amazing, inspirational person, but let's hope his body can take it.


I always cry when I watch marathons (and when I run them) because the human body is just amazing in its ability to go on and on. For Zohn, it was also deeply empowering. He told People Magazine:

My quads were burning, my hamstrings felt like they were about to rip off. But I knew with every step I was crushing little cancer cells on the road. I even wrote 'f--k canzer' (Sic) on the bottom of my shoes. That's what kept me going.

It is a powerful testament to the strength of the human spirit, but even more, to the strength of the human body. He is fighting cancer AND running all those miles. 

Any runner can tell you that running a marathon even in the best of circumstances is hard. I have run a dozen half marathons, but only two full because it beats the crap out of your body. Some might say it is not that smart to run a marathon so close to starting chemo when your body needs to call in all its reserves.

There will be little left for Zohn on Tuesday when he likely hobbles into the hospital to start his treatment. As a runner, I know the drive and what a person gets from running that goes so far beyond the physical. It is also devastating to train so hard and so long and not be able to complete the race. I get it. I really do. But even still, I hope it was the right decisions.

Zohn said the marathon gave him the strength to fight. Seeing Jenna Morasca, his girlfriend of 8 years and the intense amount of support from the spectators helped to strengthen him emotionally, but I am more curious about the physical.

No matter how much a person loves marathoning, it takes a toll on the body. I have heard that a marathon takes years off your life. As someone who runs them, I would like to say that is not true, but there is no doubt that every time I run a marathon, I later get ill. Coincidence?

If Zohn derives his fight from marathoning (and I really do get that), then good on him. But I just hope that it strengthens him physically rather than drains him. He has a lot to fight in the coming months and a lot of motivation to win.

My heart goes out to him in every way.

Do you think it was a good decision to run the marathon so close to starting chemo?


Image via Splash

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