By Tim Jimenez

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Marathon takes place this Sunday (see related stories and guides), and it has become a major weekend-long event for the entire city.

At the kick-off ceremony today at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Mayor Michael Nutter said the marathon, now in its 19th year, will have its largest field ever.

“Thirty thousand runners from the United States and worldwide will run in the course of this weekend in Philadelphia,” he said.

And, he added, 60,000 spectators are expected to be spread out along the 26.2-mile course, which received a ringing endorsement from Runner’s World Magazine’s “Chief Running Officer” Bart Yasso.

“The backdrop with the Art Museum in the back as 30,000 runners line up is one of the prettiest scenes in running and the runners head out through Center City, it’s unbelievable.”

City officials are expecting an economic boost in the millions of dollars and hope to top the estimated $20 million in economic impact from last year’s event. However, Mayor Nutter said they would be thinking about a different kind of “green” as well.

“By diverting 75 percent of the waste that comes from these kinds of events away from landfills. Waste reduction measures include composting more than 300,000 cups.”

Mayor Nutter introduced some longtime runners who have participated in the Philadelphia Marathon every year since the beginning, and some younger runners with interesting stories to tell.

One of those younger runners was Kim Pohas of Brooklyn, NY (at lectern in photo), who was attacked by a dog and subsequently suffered a serious MRSA (drug-resistant bacteria) infection.  “After intensive treatment, hospital stays, and five months of physical therapy, Kim registered for the 2012 Philadelphia marathon,” the mayor said while honoring Pohas with the 2012 Mayor’s High Five Award.

“I’m running this marathon for myself and for the family and friends who have loved and supported me, helped me face my fears and overcome my doubts,” she said.  “Thank you, Philly.”

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