The recent news that Ethan Zohn's cancer had returned "completely filled [him] with fear and anger and anxiety," the Survivor champ told us.
But instead of running scared, he ran…a marathon.
Unfortunately, a lot has changed since Zohn first ran the 26.2-mile race last year.
"I'm not gonna be able to go as fast as I would like," Ethan told us this week, "but I think it's about the day itself—which is incredible." (In fact, he finished just minutes after last year's time of 4:16.)
"Cancer's not going to slow me down," the reality star insisted, "and it's not going to slow anyone else down. I'm going to continue to charge forward and do the things that I love," said Ethan, who wants to "send a message of hope" to other patients with his run today.
"I know what it's like to be on the receiving end of a horrible diagnosis, and I want to do everything in my power to make sure nobody else has to go through the same crap that I'm going through, [whether that's] cancer, HIV, etc.," Ethan said.
"To be able to run a marathon [while] still feeling good and healthy enough will definitely raise awareness and definitely raise some money for some really important causes."
Ethan didn't race alone. The philanthropist captained a team of 70 runners and fundraisers—including some of his costars from this season of The Amazing Race—for his Grassroots Soccer charity, which combats the AIDS epidemic in Africa.
Ethan also had an "incredible support network" cheering him along the arduous 26.2-mile course, including family and friends as well as girlfriend and fellow Survivor winner Jenna Morasca. "There are definitely days that are not so great for me," he admits, "but when I have Jenna by my side keeping me sane, it makes all the difference in the world."
While most marathoners will be resting this week after the grueling race, Ethan's got another round of chemo scheduled Tuesday. "It's probably not going to be so fun, but it's worth it to me," he said about his recovery. He's looking at his upcoming stem-cell transplant "as a war," adding that "I'm gonna get my body and mind and spirit in the best shape possible before I go in there."
"I beat [cancer] for a little while; it's back, but I did everything in my power to beat it, and that's OK too," says Ethan. "I'm not a failure."
Quite the opposite: With his marathon finish today, Ethan won a huge victory in his battle against a deadly disease—and inspired all of us along the way. Congratulations, Ethan!
Here are some other celebrities who ran the marathon and their times: Turlington (4:20:47), Lopez (4:23:30), Ohno (3:25:14), The Bachelor's Dr. Andy Baldwin (3:17:31), actor Paul Sparks (3:52:46), NHL legend Mark Messier (4:14:21), Mya (6:59:39), Top Chef's Richard Blais (4:31:54), softball star Jennie Finch (4:05:26),The Bachelorette's (and online star) Ryan Sutter (3:17:58) and celebrity chef Nate Appleman (3:45:42).