Beautiful New York

A Celebration of the City

The Top 100 Greatest New Yorkers — #84

84 Zoe KoplowitzZoe Koplowitz (b. 1948)

“The race belongs not to the swift and the strong, but to those who keep running.” Such is the motto of the marathon runner. And of all the athletes – both professional and amateur – who have run the New York City Marathon, none is more inspiring than Zoe Koplowitz, who finishes last every year, sometimes taking as long as 33 hours to complete the race on her crutches. Suffering from Multiple Sclerosis and Diabetes, Koplowitz choked on a Vitamin C pill and came within an inch of dying in 1987. No longer willing to let her infirmities define her, she ran her first Marathon the following year and finished in the dead of night, completely alone. 25 Marathons later, she had developed a fan base and  an escort of Guardian Angels. An entire generation of disabled runners has followed in her slow but sure footsteps. Though she no longer runs today, she has described herself as “a human post-it note” reminding people that anything is possible.

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