This blog post is dedicated to my friend CR, an awesome Marathon runner and to DL, who came all the way to Beirut to run the last 7kms with us.
A couple of weeks ago, I ran a marathon. Yes, you heard right. I trained for a freaking 42.195kms race. I didn't go fast, but I finished it!
There are so many things that I would like to write about those 5 hours and 45 minutes. It can seem like a very long time. But the Beirut Marathon Association did a very good job at organizing it and the experience was overall very positive.
I went there with my friends (who are all experts runners by the way!) and my husband bright and early at 6 am to Biel, the area where the Marathon was starting and ran up till 12:45pm, till the finish line in Martyr's Square.
Some very unusual things happened that day:
1) Amazingly enough, the Marathon started at 7:00 am sharp!
2) Hamra street was empty. For those of you who go to Hamra often, you know that this is a miracle
3) All Lebanese came together to run all throughout Beirut
It is this last point that I want to stress. A few weeks before the Marathon, the organizers hung promotional posters all over town, with catchy slogans related to why people run (and tied sometimes to advertisements). What really caught my eye was this poster that said, "I run for diversity".
I think the Marathon was true to this slogan. And one of the rare occasions when you would see people from all groups of society, Achrafieh ladies next to veiled runners, old and young, foreigners and Lebanese, men and women, all running together. It was a beautiful experience.
I had the chance to run in some of the neighborhoods considered "dangerous" by people from my side of town, to realize that nothing was really different from the other side really (besides the house of worship of course)...
Yesterday a friend told me that the Beirut Marathon is one of the hardest in the world because it is very lonely. Indeed, there aren't many people cheering on the sidelines, because no one really stops to see you (besides your very kind friends who generously spend their Sunday passing you water bottles). So it gets boring and you need to self motivate a lot (thankfully my hubbie was by my side all the time!) Also, there were some drivers who, believe it or not, defiantly drive on the closed roads, which makes the experience annoying at times and infuriating at others!
But it can't get better than running on the Corniche, with the sun on your face, and the breeze from the sea.