FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mayor Nutter Opens Philadelphia Marathon Race Weekend and
Announces Second Annual High Five Award Recipient
Two-Day Health & Fitness Expo opens to the public;
High Five Award Winner announced;
Runner's World's Bart Yasso congratulates
Runner's World Challenge participants;
Legacy Runners honored for running every Philadelphia Marathon
PHILADELPHIA (November 18, 2011) – With less than 48 hours until the 7:30
a.m. start of the Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday, November 20,
Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter officially kicked off Race Weekend
today, cutting the ribbon at the free, two-day Health & Fitness Expo at
the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
Joined by Philadelphia Marathon Executive Race Director Melanie Johnson and
event sponsors, Mayor Nutter unveiled this year's race medal and presented
the official 2011 Philadelphia Marathon and Philadelphia Half Marathon race
bibs to local, top-seeded runners -- some of whom will be attempting U.S.
Olympic Trials Marathon qualifying times at the Philadelphia race.
In addition, Legacy Runner Mark Sullivan, who has participated in every
Philadelphia Marathon and will run his 18th Philadelphia Marathon on
Sunday, expressed his affinity for the race and displayed his medals and
jerseys from the past 17 races, along with fellow Legacy Runner, Bob Koen.
Sullivan has chosen the Philadelphia race to mark his 150th career
marathon. A Cheer Zone atmosphere was created with local group Funtown
Productions, who also will be performing along the marathon course on
Sunday, and for the second year, the Mayor's High Five Award was presented.
The athletes in the Philadelphia Marathon have become accustomed to seeing
Mayor Nutter at the start line of the race, high-fiving runners as they set
out on the 26.2-mile course. The annual Mayor's High Five Award was given
to marathoner runner Jude Dinan, (pronounced: Dye-nan) from Troy, New York,
whose inspirational journey to the starting line is as much a victory as
crossing the finish. Anyone could nominate a 2011 Philadelphia Marathon
participant who was registered for the full marathon, and participants were
permitted to nominate themselves. The award celebrates overcoming obstacles
and demonstrating courage to get to the marathon start line. The winner was
selected by the Mayor's High Five Award Committee.
Dinan was nominated by her sister, Katria Hitrick, for the second annual
Mayor's High Five Award, extoling her courage, perseverance and the
obstacles she had to overcome while training for the marathon. According to
Hitrick, a year ago Dinan, now 52, became severely ill with what doctors
originally believed was lung cancer.
Dinan, who was never a smoker, had a large tumor on her lung that gave her
extreme chest and back pain, and made her weak and unable to perform daily
tasks such as shower, dress and eat. Both had recently lost their brother
and father to cancer and because of this, Dinan's family noticed that her
symptoms were different than those experienced by brother and father.
They were not convinced that she had cancer. After some research and a
visit to an infectious disease specialist, it was discovered that Dinan had
inhaled mold and crystal spores. Dinan's organs started shutting down, and
doctors had to quickly change her treatment to include large doses of
antibiotics and the medicine that is used to counteract anthrax. If her
diagnoses had been discovered two weeks later, she may have died, according
to her doctors. Instead, over the course of the next few months, Dinan
slowly recuperated and regained her strength. Through running, she has been
able to appreciate and take advantage of her second chance at life.
"Every run has been an opportunity, a lesson enabling me to better
understand my life and how I envision moving forward," Jude Dinan said. "I
have come to understand how running does in fact mimic life. Every time you
lace up your shoes you are never certain what the journey will bring to
you. Running helps me to feel alive and connects me to myself, and to
others. Each day I knew if I could get my running shoes on and move I would
see another day. Running the Philadelphia Marathon will be a celebration
of the gift of life."
Said Mayor Michael Nutter: "Jude exemplifies the can-do spirit of the High
Five Award. Her courage, heart and tenacity are inspiring to all of us. The
High Five Award is an opportunity to celebrate her personal accomplishments
and represents the true passion of many of our race participants. I am
looking forward to cheering for Jude and all of the participants with
high-fives of support at the starting line on Sunday."
Bart Yasso, Chief Running Officer at Runner's World, congratulated runners
who joined the Runner's World Challenge. The 2011 Philadelphia Marathon
was selected by Runner's World as this year's challenge race and was an
exclusive opportunity for Philadelphia Marathon runners to be coached by
leading marathon authority Bart Yasso, train with the Runner's World
editors, and get advice from the experts on training, nutrition and injury
prevention. Three hundred participants total trained for the Philadelphia
Marathon and Philadelphia Half Marathon under the guidance of the Runner's
Local seasoned marathoners Mark Sullivan, of Freeburg, Pa. and Bob Koen, of
Cherry Hill, N.J., proudly displayed jerseys and medals from the first 17
Philadelphia Marathons during the press conference. As part of the
prestigious Legacy Runners club, Sullivan and Koen have run every
Philadelphia Marathon since the race's inception in 1994, and will run
their 18th Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday. "Philly is always the place I
want to run," says Koen. "I have an emotional tie here. I went to school
and have friends here. It just feels like home."
This year's race is especially important for many of the top seed and elite
runners who are hoping to qualify for the Olympic Team Trials Marathon
which will be held in Houston in January. According to Philadelphia
Marathon elite runner coordinator Ross Martinson, 15 men and 15 women have
run races that are within three minutes of qualifying for the U.S. Olympic
Team Trials Marathon, and will look to qualify on Sunday on Philadelphia's
fast and relatively flat course. Additionally, eight women and10 men are
using the Philadelphia Half Marathon course as their last effort to qualify
for the Olympic Trials
The mayor and Dinan were led by cheers from fans waving foam High Five
hands in a simulated cheer zone at the press event. Before the conclusion
of the press conference, the Mayor revealed the 2011 Philadelphia Marathon
and finisher medal, and the race bibs. The race bibs are adorned with each
participant's name so the expected 60,000 fans along the course in
Running's Best Host City can personally cheer for the runners. Each
participant who crosses the finish line will receive a medal to proudly
display their achievement and remember the race for years to come.
The City of Philadelphia, Running's Best Host City, will welcome more than
27,000 registrants across all races and more than 60,000 spectators at the
2011 Philadelphia Marathon Race Weekend. In addition to the Philadelphia
Marathon on Sunday, November 20, Race Weekend features three other races –
the Half Marathon also on Sunday, as well as the Rothman Institute 8K and
the Arctic Ease Kids Fun Run on Saturday, November 19. Other activities to
welcome participants, families, friends, spectators, businesses and
residents include a free two-day Health & Fitness Expo; a free course map,
Fan Pass complete with retail discounts and promotions, and more than 25
spectator cheer zones. Participants pass many of Philadelphia's famous
attractions on the swift and scenic USATF-certified course, which is a
Boston qualifier. Take the first step to experiencing 26.2 miles of fun,
beauty, history and excitement by visiting www.philadelphiamarathon.com.