The Winning Spirit

Zoe Koplowitz, Author, Mike Celizic, With Doubleday Books $21.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-385-48987-4
Afflicted with multiple sclerosis at age 25, Koplowitz decided to run in her first New York Marathon in 1988 at age 40; she has run in that event every year since, always finishing last with times ranging from 20 to 271/2 hours. Her aim, she stresses, was not to achieve celebrity, but she has become as well known among runners as perennial winner Greta Weitz. What drives her, she explains in this personal and consistently affecting memoir written with a columnist from the Record of New Jersey, is her desire to show that individuals ""living life against the odds"" can triumph over adversity through a combination of self-acceptance and a reluctance to admit to boundaries set by others. Koplowitz has had some of her most significant successes addressing classes in New York City schools, particularly in poorer neighborhoods, where many pupils believe they have no future. She urges them to change their thinking. She recounts some of her more memorable moments on the race course: some uproarious, as when her posterior was frozen to the seat of a portable toilet; some heart-warming, as when the Guardian Angels adopted her as a special project. Her New Age metaphysics may not be to everyone's taste, but readers unmoved by her story will be few indeed. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Religion
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