By John McDevitt
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Mayor Michael Nutter is planning to be at 20th Philadelphia Marathon Sunday — giving ‘high fives’ to runners crossing the finish line as he typically does each year.
Since 2010, one athlete is singled out for overcoming a challenge in order to get to the starting line. As a result, they receive the “Mayor’s High Five Award.”
Saying running has truly saved his life, 26-year-old John Ciccone of West Philadelphia started running seriously about two years ago. He was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder when he was 16.
“And struggled severely with depression and weight issues for about seven years,” he said.
John says running has allowed him to go-off his medication:
“I run 55-60 miles a week now, and races such as the Philadelphia Marathon are sanctuaries that allow me to display the hard work that I put in to keep my mental health intact.”
John lost more than 75 pounds. He participated in the Broad Street run in May.
“I will have been running seriously for two years the day I moved into Philadelphia in 2011,” he said.
And there are wedding bells in John’s future. He got engaged to his girlfriend a few weeks ago.