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Woman with MS Crosses Finish Line

Zoe Koplowitz, 59, ran the New York City Marathon on Monday, November 5, 2007. She didn't do very well. Paula Radcliffe, for example, was the first woman to cross the finish line after 2 hours and 23 minutes. Martin Lei led the men with his time of 2:09:04. Zoe's time: 28 hours, 45 minutes.

Thirty years ago, Zoe was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. In 1988 she entered her first New York City Marathon and completed the route in just under 20 hours. That was her best finish. Since then, she's competed in the city's marathon 20 times and has also run in marathons in London and Boston.

In this year's race Zoe wore back and knee braces and walked the entire route using crutches painted purple, accompanied by supporters. For her, crossing the finish line was "a total blessing," and following the race she said, "I'm just extremely grateful. I don't get any younger, [and] my MS doesn't get any better."

One reporter noted that when the best athletes ran past her, "Zoe Koplowitz kept walking." Hard core runners went by; "she kept walking." When the last person in the race crossed the finish line, "she kept walking."

An official of New York City's Multiple Sclerosis Society said this about Zoe: "She's not letting MS change her life. I think she is a real champion."

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