Local doctor looks for good finish to marathon career

Podiatrist Brian Crispell, who finished second in the Baltimore Marathon, hopes to better his time.
Podiatrist Brian Crispell, who finished second in the Baltimore Marathon, hopes to better his time.
Posted: November 17, 2013

Brian Crispell is all in for his second, and likely final, Philadelphia Marathon.

A Philadelphia podiatrist who soon plans to open his own practice, Crispell is hoping to carry the momentum from his showing last month in the Baltimore Marathon, where he finished second.

Since his wife Dana Koesar is expecting the couple's first child in February, the 37-year-old Crispell says that this is probably his swan song. And he has been running between 80 and 100 miles per week in preparation.

"This is kind of my last big one so I have really been training hard," said Crispell before Friday's news conference for the marathon at the Convention Center.

The 20th annual Philadelphia Marathon and half-marathon will take place Sunday. Both races begin and end at 22d Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Wheelchairs and handcycles begin at 6:57 a.m. and are followed by the runners at 7 a.m.

The events start with Saturday's Rothman Institute 8K Run, also from the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Wheelchair and handcycles begin at 7:27 a.m., followed by the runners at 7:30.

More than 30,000 participants are expected to compete in the three races. The men and women's winners in the marathon will receive $3,500 each. Top prize for the half-marathon is $2,500 each and for the Rothman 8K it is $1,000 each.

Crispell isn't likely to win the 26.2-mile marathon, at least based on his second-place time of 2 hours, 38 minutes and 57 seconds in Baltimore.

Last year's Philadelphia Marathon winner, North Penn grad Michael McKeeman of Ardmore, had a time of 2:17.47.

Crispell says that he's hoping to better his time from Baltimore, where there was no prize money, which caused a number of elite competitors to bypass the event.

At the very least, he could very well be the top finishing doctor.

"Being a podiatrist and a runner. I think they go hand in hand," said Crispell, who is competing for the Bryn Mawr Running Company. "I want to be as mobile as possible in my life and want to help other people be mobile too and that is kind of my mantra as a physician."

There will be many inspirational stories coming out of the marathon and one person, 26-year-old John Ciccone, was cited on Friday at the press conference.

Ciccone earned the fourth annual Mayor's High Five Award, presented to a marathon participant who has demonstrated unique courage, perseverance and fortitude just to reach the start line.

Formerly of Landenberg, Ciccone has lived in Philadelphia nearly two years and changed his life. He said that he struggled from a bipolar disorder beginning at the age of 16 and that led to weight issues. He eventually began running as a way of dealing with his weight.

Now the 5-foot-6 Ciccone is a svelte 145 pounds after weighing as much as 215. He ran in the Baltimore Marathon and is now anxious to compete in Philadelphia.

He said that due to running, he has been allowed to go off his medication for nearly two years.

"Running has truly saved my life and the Philadelphia Marathon represents a new lease on life," he said. "This award is such an honor."

There are expected to be more than 60,000 spectators this weekend and in light of the Boston Marathon tragedy, there will be increased security measures.

"If you don't have to bring a backpack, it is best - and if you do, get one that is clear so that we can see what is going on," Mayor Nutter said. "We want everybody to be safe."


mnarducci@phillynews.com

@sjnard

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