June 14, 2001
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER
Charities have had a big impact on the number of participants at marathons in the past five years. Many runners have found that tying their marathon aspirations to helping someone can have a profound effect on their lives. The Detroit Free Press Marathon and the Multiple Sclerosis Society joined forces more than 20 years ago to raise awareness of this crippling disease, which attacks the central nervous system. It's one of the major causes of disability in adults under 65.
The MSAMS team -- Marathon Strides Against MS -- formed through the inspiration of Zoe Koplowitz, a marathon runner from New York who has the disease. Six years ago in Detroit, Tony Robino was captured by her zest for running and formed a team that has become the model for 12 other groups nationwide. Through his recruiting efforts, runners have more than tripled the yearly fund-raising total.
In Detroit, three other runners have been key players in helping to raise support for the understanding of MS. Jim Keskeny, who has required the use of a wheelchair since 1981 because of MS, began raising money to find a cure when he was wheeled through the Paris Marathon in 1988. This year he hopes to raise his total fund-raising contributions to $100,000. He now uses a relay of cops to push him around numerous races, including the Free Press Marathon.
Jim Soter, who has run all but one of the Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Bank International Marathons, has been involved with raising money for MS for eight years. He has seen the MSAMS team grow to a core group of 55 members and found they give him support in a variety of ways.
"Being part of MSAMS has given me a purpose far greater than just running the marathon," Soter said. For several years he has regularly visited and connected with people who have MS through the Sole Mate program.
Dave Dwornick has raised money for MS every year since 1983. For him, MSAMS has meant being part of a team, sharing a common interest and drawing on the support of a group to realize short- and long-term goals. He encourages those who can't run the entire marathon to support MS through participation in the marathon relay.
For more information on the MSAMS team, call 800-247-7382 or go to the Internet at www.nmssmi.org.
TIP OF THE WEEK: Early morning can be a peaceful time to get in your daily run and practice for the early-morning races.
UPCOMING RACE OF THE WEEK: Zanglin Downriver Run, Friday, 7:30 p.m., one-mile fun run and 8K race in Trenton, voted as one of the best post-race parties in the state. Call Total Runner (734-282-1101) or visit the Web site at www.zanglinrun.com.
Contact DOUG KURTIS
at Detroit Free Press, 600 W. Fort St., Detroit 48226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Free Press/Flagstar Bank International Marathon will be Oct. 21. For
more information, go to www.freep.com/sports.