Updated 2:56 PM ET November 5, 2000
NEW YORK (AP) - After a long legal battle, wheelchair racers competed as official entrants in the New York City Marathon for the first time.
Kamel Ayari of New York won the men's race Sunday in 1:53:50 and Helene Hines of Lido Beach was first among the women in 1:57:27.
The winner of the handcycle division was Joseph Dowling of Connecticut in 1:54:25.
"It was very, very windy," Ayari said. "I didn't know New York City at all. Sometimes I went fast, but the wind hurt."
Ayari overtook Tony Nogueira of Glen Ridge, N.J. for the lead early in the race.
"From there, I went on to win," he said.
Hines, who has multiple sclerosis and kidney cancer, was surprised by her victory.
"I was not expected to even race, much less win," she said. "What else can I say?"
There were 140 wheelchair racers, including handcycles. Ayari and Hines said they were pleased in getting official recognition by marathon organizers.
"It needs to be a separate event," Hines said. "I'm glad it's an official