How RHONY's Carole Radziwill Paid Tribute to Her Late Husband Anthony with Her NYC Marathon Run
Run, Radzi, run!
On Wednesday’s all new Real Housewives of New York City, Carole Radziwill completed her goal of running the New York City Marathon for the first time — clearing the 26.2-mile journey in a respectable 6 hours, 42 minutes.
It was an idea that first surprised RHONY fans at the end of last season when the celebrated author, who famously hates to work out, first mentioned it. And, it turns out, it was an idea that even surprised Carole!
“The 30-year-old Carole definitely couldn’t have imagined the 54-year-old Carole running 26. 2 miles. The 30-year-old Carole would say, ‘Are you f——- kidding me?,’ ” she joked with viewers. “[But] I’m excited. I’m thinking of it as an adventure.”
But it was more than just an adventure for Carole. It turns out, running the marathon also gave her a chance to pay tribute to her late husband Anthony Radziwill, who died of cancer in 1999. (Carole’s memoir, What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship and Love, talks about the pain of losing Anthony to cancer weeks after Anthony’s cousin, John F. Kennedy, Jr., and wife Carolyn Kennedy died in a plane crash).
“I have some history with the marathon because my late husband Anthony ran the marathon,” Carole explained of Anthony, whom she married in 1994. “And I didn’t know him then, but we started dating a few years after and he would sort of casually drop that he had run the marathon.”
“People always told me what a hero Anthony was because he battled cancer. I used to hate that — I didn’t want him to have to battle cancer. And then it turns out, he was a hero after all. Because he had run that New York City marathon. I finally feel like I’m going to honor him in the way that I should have when he used to talk incessantly about running,” she added.
To help connect the dots, Carole even went to the NYRR Run Center two weeks prior to running the marathon to see what Anthony’s stats were when he ran it back in 1985. According to the data, Anthony was 26 at the time, and completed the 26.2 mile journey in just under 3 hours (2:58:17, to be exact).
“I felt a little melancholy and proud at the same time when I saw his name and his time,” Carole said, reflecting on that information. “It’s just incredible that he did that and I wish I would have made more of a celebration of it.”
- Want to keep up on the latest from PEOPLE? Sign up for our daily newsletter to get our best stories of the day delivered straight to your inbox.
None of that made running the NYC Marathon easier, of course. Looking back on the November long-distance endurance run, Carole — who previously worked as a journalist — told audiences that she was truly frightened.
“I’m more scared to run the marathon than I was when I was working at ABC News and I was covering the war in the Middle East,” she said. “Going over to Afghanistan, I felt exhilarated, excited. Now, standing at the start line is probably the scariest place I’ve ever been.”
“It’s very different than other challenges I’ve had in my life. There’s no support. This is all on me,” she added.
Luckily, she had a plan and friends to cheer her on.
One of them was on-again, off-again boyfriend Adam Kenworthy. Though the two broke up over the summer, Carole explained he’s still in her life and proved to be a huge source of support for this particular challenge. “I would say my relationship with Adam has reached a nice equilibrium. And the marathon has a lot to do with that,” she said of Kenworthy, who was shown hugging her and encouraging her before and after the race.
Carole’s trainer Roberto was also there. “I’m doing my race,” she told him, joking to audiences that, “My plan for the marathon is to finish it before the sweeper bus comes and drives me to the finish line. That would be humiliating.”
Former RHONY Housewife Heather Thomson was there, too, alongside her husband John. Before the starting line, she was able to give Carole a well-needed “Holla.”
“There are about 52,000 people who are running this marathon. And I knew Heather and John were running the marathon, but I didn’t know where they were going to be at the start line,” Carole said. “It’s just so fun to see her. She’s just the best little cheerleader.”
As for the marathon itself, Carole appeared to stick to her slow and steady pace plan — though there was a lot of pain.
“Not only is my hip hurting, but my left knee for some reason is throbbing. I don’t know if I’m going to even finish. But right now all I can think about is one mile at a time. It’s a pure mental game,” she recounted. “It’s all a bit of a blur. My legs were paralyzed. I just kept going. I just kept going. I can’t tell you how or why. I just kept going.”
Getting to the finish line was a blur. “When I saw that finish line, I just thought it was a mirage in a desert,” she said. “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I almost didn’t make it.”
RELATED VIDEO: Andy Cohen’s Pick For The Most Absurd Real Housewives’ Business Ever
Her friends and family were there to embrace her, including Kenworthy, Roberto, and fellow New York Housewife Tinsley Mortimer.
“All I remember at the finish line is hearing my parents and my friends screaming my name from the stands. And there’s Roberto with this medal in his hand and I was so happy,” Carole said. “Running the marathon is very isolating, lonely thing to do. It’s just you and the road. So to see at the end all of your friends and your family, cheering you? You remember you’re not really alone.”
They couldn’t have been happier for her. “I am so super proud of Carole,” said Mortimer. “This is a huge deal and I want to do everything to support my friends. Of course Carole, whose been nothing but an amazing person to me, I’m going to be there for her.”
The Real Housewives of New York City airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.