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Woman With MS Last To Finish NYC Marathon

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Unread 11-06-2007, 11:21 AM   #1
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Heart Woman With MS Last To Finish NYC Marathon

I heard her interview on CNN and hoped that the statement she made during the interview would be a part of any article today, but it is not.

It was something about life continuing to happen around her and wanting to continue to be a part of it all.

Woman With MS Last To Finish NYC Marathon


When the elite athletes passed her, Zoe Koplowitz kept walking. When the hard-core runners went by, she kept walking. And finally, when every other one of the thousands of people in the race had finished, she kept walking.

Koplowitz, 59, crossed the finish line and completed her 20th New York City Marathon on Monday -- just under 29 hours after she had started.

Wearing braces on her back and knee and using purple-painted crutches, Koplowitz, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and diabetes, walked the entire route, accompanied by supporters.

"I'm just extremely grateful," she said after reaching the finish line in Central Park. "I don't get any younger, my MS doesn't get any better." She called crossing the finish line "a total blessing."

Koplowitz, a motivational speaker, was diagnosed over 30 years ago with multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease of the central nervous system. She entered her first New York City Marathon in 1988 and made her best time -- just under 20 hours.

This year's effort clocked in at 28 hours and 45 minutes.

How long it takes doesn't really matter to Koplowitz. She says she enjoys her unusual vantage point, which lets her see some of the world's best marathoners run by. "The best part is you get to be both a spectator and a participant," she said.

Koplowitz started the 26.2-mile trek ahead of the main pack, this year at 6:30 a.m. Sunday, and pulled over to give the elite runners room to go by. This year's women's winner, Paula Radcliffe, won in 2 hours, 23 minutes, 9 seconds, just nine months after giving birth. The men's winner, Martin Lel, finished in 2:09:04.

Ruth Brenner, president of the New York City chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, called Koplowitz an inspiration.

"She's not letting MS change her life," Brenner said Monday.

"I think she is a real champion."

Koplowitz, who has also completed races in Boston and London, said she hoped to keep taking part in the race "as long as I'm able to keep getting around."

Her short-term goal, though, was to relax. "I'm going to go home, cuddle with my husband and my dog, and take a nap," she said.
You're alive. Do something. The directive in life, the moral imperative was so uncomplicated. It could be expressed in single words, not complete sentences. It sounded like this: Look. Listen. Choose. Act. ~~Barbara Hall

I long to accomplish a great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker. ~~Helen Keller
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