Almost two years ago, shortly after midnight on New Years in Times Square, I somehow stumbled upon Bill Rancic on the sidewalk. Being a huge fan of the Giuliana and Bill star, and perhaps just a tiny bit tipsy, I made a huge scene and asked for a photo. I may or may not have screamed to the confused tourists on the sidewalk, “IT’S BILL RANCIC!” over and over again, with an inflection to reflect my utter horror at their incomprehension. Thankfully, he could not have been nicer, and I have the photo with him to prove it.
Needless to say I felt more than a little embarrassed the next day. I had made a complete fool of myself in front of Giuliana’s husband! Which is why I was more than ecstatic when I was contacted about the opportunity to interview him. I was going to redeem myself! And more than that, I was going to interview him on a topic that is very near and dear to his heart.
After surviving her own battle with breast cancer in 2011, Bill’s wife Giuliana later teamed up with Fab-U-Wish, a charity that grants wishes to women who are battling breast and ovarian cancer. Whether it’s giving them a pair of designer shoes or taking them on a trip of a lifetime, Bill explains, it’s “something fabulous that they would never ordinarily do for themselves.”
This year, Bill will be starting dead last behind 48,000 other runners in the ING New York City Marathon, a 26.2 mile race around all five boroughs of New York City. For every runner he passes, Timex will be giving a dollar to Fab-U-Wish. His goal? A mere 25,000 runners. “I don’t want to jinx it,” he told me, “but I’m hoping $25,000. If I could raise $25,000, that’s a lot of wishes we could grant for a lot of women.” To keep him focused on his goal, he will be making a list of the people who inspire him to run and looking at it after every mile. As he said, “When I need some inner strength I’m going to look down and remember why I’m running the race.”
While this isn’t Bill’s first marathon, it has been 12 years since Bill, 42, ran his last. He compared his training to a “part-time job,” and with his first child, Duke, only a year old, how did this new dad balance training, family, and a busy career that puts him on the road over 100 days a year?
“Sleep is really a hot commodity,” he told me. “So it’s been really tough, I’m not gonna lie to you. Just the sleep deprivation is hard, when the baby gets up at 4 in the morning, and then I’ve got to do a 13 mile run — it takes every bit of your heart and soul to finish that 13 or 15 mile run that you’ve got to do.”
But even though mornings have been tough, it’s also his favorite time of day to spend with Duke. “I love getting him up in the morning. I wake up every morning … and the first thing we do is we just sit … and I just chat with him a little bit and he kind of cuddles up with me and snuggles. That’s my favorite time of the day, 5:45/6 in the morning. It just melts your heart.”
And come this Sunday, Bill will start the day he has been preparing for for months, and he couldn’t be more ready.
“You know, this marathon I’m running, certainly there are going to be a lot more eyeballs on me than when I was 28 and no one knew my name. So it’s definitely a little bit different, and you know, a little more pressure. But I’m ready for it! I’m excited and know that I’m doing it for a good cause and I gave it my best.”
On behalf of Babble, I wish my new best friend Bill (he remembered me!) a fantastic race and the best of luck on Sunday!
Photo courtesy of Giuliana Rancic’s Official Instagram.