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ETHAN ZOHN x ING NYC MARATHON

In the Active Team’s ongoing ING New York City Marathon coverage, we’ve decided to highlight our friend and athlete Ethan Zohn, who of course will be running on race day, November 7, 2010.

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What makes Ethan Zohn so special is his myriad of accomplishments…from former professional soccer player and reality television celebrity on ABC’s Survivor (by the way, he won in 2002) to cancer survivor and activist for his cause, Grassroot Soccer that trains individuals on HIV prevention – through soccer – in the most HIV-affected countries.

Zohn answered a few of our questions about the race…in his own words:

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You were a professional soccer player for years, how does your prior training aid in your performance for the marathon?

Considering I was a goalkeeper, I have no endurance training. Having said that, goalkeepers are known to be a little crazy…and you have to be nuts to run 26.2 miles…in a row.

You are running for your cause Grassroot Soccer, can you tell us a little more about this program?

Our Mission is to use the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilize communities to stop the spread of HIV. Founded by former professional soccer players in 2002, Grassroot Soccer (GRS) trains African soccer stars, coaches, teachers, and peer educators in the world’s most HIV-affected countries to deliver a fun, interactive HIV prevention and life skills curriculum to youth.

We have graduated more than 360,000 graduates in 15 countries, through 25 partnerships. By 2014, GRS will provide 1 million youth with the knowledge and support to live HIV-free, whereby measurably reducing HIV incidence among young adults.

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You have accomplished more than some people could ever imagine…cancer survivor, athlete, activist, and celebrity. How would you like the public to perceive you at this point in your career?

I believe that to make happiness real for others is truly the greatest gift in the world. And that’s exactly what I’d like people to think of me…some dude that is trying to make other people smile. If it’s coaching soccer, fighting cancer, running the marathon to fight AIDS…I’m using my “fame” to create change in this world.

Can you tell us a little more about your sponsorship with Nike?

Nike and Grassroot Soccer have partnered for more than five years to use the power of sport to engage youth in soccer-based programs that deliver the knowledge, skills and support young people need to live HIV free. The GRS Story is told visually on the nikefootball.com site. Nike provides gear and equipment as well access to some of its star players to help inspire our students. So when the NYC Marathon came along, Nike was generous to support our team of 50 runners with some fresh new running gear. You are only as good as you look, and we will be the best looking team on the streets of the Big Apple!

Are you more a minimalist man or are you planning to run in traditional sneakers?

I’m open to all the new trends in athletic gear, like the low profile minimalist running shoe craze, but I just cant seem to get into it. I’m old and need the nice marshmallow fluffy running shoes. Maybe in 2011? Hopefully the new stuff will be packaged with a cane.

Who are some of the other runners on Team GRS?

We have Leslie Osborne who plays for the US Women’s National Soccer team. Prince Lorenzo Borghese from The Bachelor, Kelly Henderson who plays for the Philadelphia Independence in the Women’s Pro Soccer League. We have a few GRS interns and employees and I coerced some of my old soccer buddies to run as well…they kind of hate me right now. But it’s for charity so, it makes it all worth it.

The GRS Marathon Team’s goal is to educate 8,000 more youth by raising $200,000 by December 1, 2010. it only takes $25 to provide effective HIV-prevention to one youth.

Can you describe any training regiments that you have been following?

I have been averaging 35-45 miles a week. Nothing too intense, a few long runs every now and then. Lots of ice and a foam roller. I hope to prove that you can beat cancer and still run the marathon. Less then nine months ago I was locked in isolation for 30 days getting a stem cell transplant. The power of the human spirit is amazing. I get excited to just lace up my shoes and jog…

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