• KYW- News At 5/6 PM
    05:00 PM - 06:30 PM
By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — City planners are gearing up for The Philadelphia Marathon next month, benefiting a number of cancer organizations. Leading the effort this year is a former cancer patient.

Philadelphia’s is considered one of the top marathons in the country and it continues to grow with 30,000 competitors, 60,000 spectators and 3,000 volunteers. The man in charge says nothing can be as intimidating as battling a deadly cancer.

The planning is endless for Jim Marino, race director of The Philadelphia Marathon. He knows all about challenges having just survived pancreatic cancer. He didn’t think he would when he was diagnosed. “My first reaction was I got the death notice,” Jim says.

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But he got lucky, after surgery last year, he was cancer free.

His dad wasn’t so lucky, he died from colon cancer at age 69. So for Jim, being involved with the marathon that raises money for a variety of cancer charities, it’s personal. “I told the doctors I said look I can’t give you a million dollars, but I can help raise a million dollars,” Jim says.

Hoping to make the marathon better than ever this year, the full and half marathons will be split up. The half going on Saturday, November 19th. “So now we can spread it out and give them more running room and give them an opportunity to grow in both events and that’s the biggest change,” Jim explains.

And the route has changed streamlining the parkway so the marathon won’t be so disruptive while still providing the runners with an iconic course. Jim Says, “It’s important that they see our historic sites early in the course when they run down Arch Street.”

Jim, who works for the Parks and Recreation Department, has worked on the marathon for 22 years, this is the first year he’s in charge. And in case you’re wondering, Jim says: “No I’m not a runner, I never was a runner, but I run the run. When I see all the happy faces at the end of the day of people reaching their goals, I feel like I’ve reached mine too for that day.”

The winner of the marathon last year had a time of two hours, 17 minutes. The full marathon takes place on Sunday, November 20. The deadline to register is November 1, just two weeks away. Also that weekend there’s the Rothman 8k and a kids fun run.

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