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Vision-impaired runner completes fifth marathon

By Scott Zoltan, KECI Reporter, szoltan@keci.com
Published On: Jul 14 2013 05:14:24 PM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

NBC Montana told you about Rhonda Copeland, a vision impaired Missoula Marathon runner, back in May. On Sunday, she completed her fifth Missoula Marathon. Rhonda started losing her sight in the 90’s because of a genetic disease, but she didn’t lose her determination. In fact, she ran her first Missoula Marathon after she started losing her sight.

On Saturday, NBC Montana checked in with Rhonda at several stops during the race, when her partner helped her re-fuel with food and drinks.

The first stop came after nine and a half miles.

“It’s going really great…[I’m] feeling good meeting a lot of people ,” said Copeland.

Sixteen miles in, she was still going strong.

“I’m feeling aches and pains in different places and then they go away,” said Copeland.

About 22 miles in, she came by with a new friend who had been helping to guide her during the final stretch. Rhonda has found that people jump at the chance to lend a hand.

After 26.2 miles, and about five hours of running, it was time to celebrate. Rhonda’s body was tired, but her spirit was strong. It’s the feeling of having another marathon under her belt, and another chapter in an extraordinary life story.

“It’s an awesome feeling to be finished with it, and I can’t wait until next year,” said Copeland.