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Philly Mayor Searching For “High Five” Story

The award highlights a runner's personal journey.

The award highlights a runner’s personal journey.

From: Running USA

On Sunday, November 18, Mayor Michael A. Nutter will once again honor a race participant in the 26.2-miler who overcame great adversity to reach the Philadelphia Marathon starting line. Mayor Nutter is committed to supporting participants each year at the event – from leading the Philadelphia Marathon Weekend kick off at the Health & Fitness Expo to offering high-fives to race participants at the start and finish lines on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. For the third consecutive year, one participant will receive the Mayor’s High Five Award – an honor presented by Mayor Nutter to acknowledge a race participant’s path to reach his or her goal of being in the 19th Philadelphia Marathon.

“The Mayor’s High Five Award highlights a marathoner’s personal journey on the road to participating in the Philadelphia Marathon,” said Mayor Nutter. “Although many encounter challenges, it’s how our race participants rise up to meet these obstacles that is worthy of our attention. If you know someone who has overcome an injury, triumphed over an illness, or conquered negative beliefs about the ability to run a marathon, we want to hear that story. We encourage our race participants to share their compelling stories and personal victories of courage and compassion leading to the Philadelphia Marathon starting line.”

Submit a nomination for the 2012 Mayor’s High Five Award (500 words or less) to, now through midnight Eastern Standard Time by Thursday, November 1, 2012. Include the first and last name, a current address, hometown (if from Philadelphia, please include which neighborhood), age, contact number and email address. More information is also available on the Philadelphia Marathon website at

Candidates must be willing to make their story public through the media. Mayor Nutter will announce the recipient of the Mayor’s High Five Award at the Philadelphia Marathon Weekend news conference kick off, to be held Friday, November 16, 2012. The recipient will also be featured in the 2012 Philadelphia Marathon Race Weekend Guide distributed to race participants and media members. Mayor Nutter also will recognize the 2012 Mayor’s High Five Award recipient at the Philadelphia Marathon starting line on the morning of Sunday, November 18. The Philadelphia Marathon begins at 7:00am at 22nd Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Anyone can nominate a 2012 Philadelphia Marathon participant who is registered for the full marathon, and interested participants are permitted to nominate themselves.

The first-ever Mayor’s High Five Award was given to runner Kathleen Wrigley, from Fargo, North Dakota, in 2010. The Philadelphia native and mother of three overcame three brain aneurysms and the loss of half her vision to compete in the Philadelphia Marathon. Wrigley was motivated to run the Philadelphia Marathon to raise awareness about brain aneurysms and early detection, as well as to honor her brother Danny Boyle, a fallen Philadelphia police officer.

“I’m not an elite runner, by any means,” Wrigley said. “I run because after three brain aneurysm surgeries and suffering some setbacks – I can run. I want my kids to see that their mother is able. I consider receiving the Mayor’s High Five Award the proudest moment of my running life.”

The second Mayor’s High Five Award recipient was Jude Dinan, from Troy, New York. Dinan was nominated by her sister Katria Hitrick. Hitrick told marathon organizers that Dinan, 52, became severely ill with what was believed to be lung cancer. Although Dinan was never a smoker, she was diagnosed with having a large tumor on her lung that gave her extreme chest and back pain – making her so weak that showering, dressing, and eating were strenuous daily tasks. A second diagnosis revealed Dinan had actually inhaled mold and crystal spores that were beginning to shut down her organs. Dinan slowly began recovering after taking antibiotics and medicine used to counteract anthrax. Over several months, Dinan gradually regained strength – using the Philadelphia Marathon as the best platform to celebrate a second chance at life.

“Winning the Mayor’s High Five Award is an honor that humbled me,” Dinan said. “The Mayor’s High Five Award does something no other marathon does – it takes the time to recognize the effort of the majority of runners and their story bringing them to the starting line. Winning this award speaks to the connection we all share when we endeavor to achieve a goal. My experience winning the Mayor’s High Five Award was wonderful and I am grateful.”

More than 27,000 runners and over 60,000 spectators will be in Philadelphia, the city to experience “The Best Time of Your Life”™ during Marathon Weekend – Friday, November 16 to Sunday, November 18. In addition to Sunday’s Philadelphia Marathon, Race Weekend offers three races – the Half Marathon, the Rothman Institute 8K, and the Kids Fun Run. Other activities to welcome runners, families, friends, spectators, businesses and residents include a free two-day Health & Fitness Expo; a free course map complete with retail discounts and promotions; and a key to more than 20 spectacular cheer zones. Race participants pass many of Philadelphia’s famous attractions on the swift and scenic USATF-certified course, which is a Boston qualifier.