Beirut regains its marathon – L’Orient Today

It had been a long time since Beirut had seen so many people running in the same direction. Suspended in 2019 after the popular “thawra” riots that began on October 17, 2019, then in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the marathon returned in 2021 with nearly 6,000 participants.

But this Sunday, by 6:30 am, more than 12,000 runners and runners left one after the other, under the bright sun of the city center, to roam the streets of the Lebanese capital from the waterfront near Zaytuna Bay.

The 42.195 km route of the 2022 edition of the Beirut Marathon. Image provided by the event’s official website

12,000 participants, 60 nationalities

Sixteenth in name, this 2022 edition of the Beirut marathon attracted many athletes of 60 different nationalities, including several thousand expatriates who specially returned to Lebanon for the occasion, as well as some big Ethiopian and Kenyan names in discipline. Became in 2014 one of the stages of the international circuit of the IAAF (the International Association of Athletics Federations) in the “Bronze Label” category, this race took place for the first time in 2003 under the impetus of May el-Khalil, victim two years before of a serious accident that prevented him from racing again.

Clearly present at the start and finish line, the one who is now the president of the event did not hide his pleasure to see more participants than expected (two thousand more than the goal of 10,000 that have been shown) and hopes that the great this festival in 2022 edition will attract more people in the coming years.

At the sports level, the fun was also there in the streets that were pedestrianized for the occasion. At the end of the 42.195 km loop which, in order, connects the seafront near BIEL, the long arteries of Corniche, Mar Mikhaïl, Bourj Hammoud, before continuing past Jal el-Dib and returning outside Zaytuna Bay .

Lebanese runner Saleh Zeaiter leads the men’s race, while Chirine Njeim wins the women’s race, ahead of Kathia Rached and Nada Jisr.

In the international race, at the same distance, Ethiopian Mitku Tafa Dekeba crossed the finish line first ahead of his compatriot Muletaa Felate and Kenyan Benjamin Malot. As for the international women’s race, another Ethiopian Mulugojiam Ambi came first, ahead of Kenyan Sheila Kiplagat and her Abyssinian compatriot Lelse Bero.

For those unable to attempt such a distance, the 21.1 km half-marathon crowned Lebanese Nader Jaber, ahead of Reving Rashid and Mohammad Kdoush in the men’s category, and Nesrine (known only by her first name), ahead of Pia Makhoul and Maissa Chirazi , to women. Over 10km, Zayd al-Sayed beat Peter Khoury and Omar Abou Hamad, while Bryony (known only by her first name) got the better of Joan Makary and Loaa Zaarour.

Run for a reason

Taking advantage of the audience that such an event offers, a plethora of NGOs and associations have also joined forces in the hope of raising awareness and promoting the causes they champion. Among the many runners involved in this kind of initiative, we can see parading, on the 5-kilometer course provided for this purpose, about 500 blue jerseys with the slogan: “I run for Beirut. Let’s run together.” They were worn by volunteers who responded to the call of an unprecedented collective of eight associations specialized in the support and treatment of people with specific needs: OpenMinds, Stay Together, Lebanese Autism Society, Next Step and AUB, Care, Hyphen, Mosaïk and U Variation.

Regardless of its distance or the motives that govern its participants, this marathon has a thousand and one reasons to run. And those who hosted it this Sunday are already looking forward to next year.

It had been a long time since Beirut had seen so many people running in the same direction. Suspended in 2019 after the popular “thaoura” uprisings that began on October 17, 2019, then in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the marathon returned in 2021 with nearly 6,000 participants. But this Sunday, at the stroke of 6:30 am, this…

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