November 11, 2013

Fun Run

The official time isn’t in yet (link), but our housekeeper made it to the podium, so that part is official; 3rd place for the woman’s 10K. I could tell you "she's come a long way", but it has been only 12 months since she's started training.
Aragu Sisay Abate at the finish line; Mixed feelings about her victory
She’s not too pleased about 3rd place; had hoped for a first place, but right at the beginning of the race, she fell. She wasn’t quite prepared for the crowd that the 10K brings in, and so she had to plough her way through a mass of runners, which did not go very well.  But she’s pleased she made it to the podium.

There's very few people actually running in the back. Should call it the 10K Fun Walk, but I guess Fun Run sounds better.
Hamra Street without cars; they should do this more often

Several papers reported that ‘More than 36,000 participants from 104 countries ran a 42-kilometer marathon in Beirut on Sunday despite difficult conditions experienced in Lebanon due to the nearby Syrian conflict.’ That is not very accurate. It’s 36,000 people in total (42K relay, 10K, fun-run, 5 K and 1K included). But for the actual 42.195  kilometers  did not have 36,000 participants.

Every company, NGO, organization, school and university in town rounds up its employees, gets them a T-shirt with a logo and a slogan, and off they go.
 This greatly amused an American runner that I met. He had read everywhere that the ‘Beirut Marathon’ draws serious crowds of over 25,000 people. Now to him that sounded like a really big marathon, as big as London (36,000), Boston (36,000) and New York (46,000).  

And so he was quite surprised when he got to the start line, and saw a crowd of some 400 runners. “I was like, where’s the rest?”
But that was some 3 years ago, and he has been coming back ever since, to show his support for an event that obviously is a lot of fun.

The army goes too
Cheering for Autism

The 10 K Fun Run was clearly named after the spirit of its participants. These days, every company, NGO, organization, school and university in town rounds up its employees, gets them a T-shirt with a logo and a slogan, and off they go. Many organizations use it to draw attention to their cause, and entirely families go for the walk. I saw 'Domestic Abuse', 'Migrant Rights', 'Eating Disorders', 'Support for Nigeria', 'Autism', all kinds of medical and psychological problems, orphanages, and much more.  
'2 out of 3 Lebanese have war injuries you cannot see' . Maybe an ad for Valium. I couldn't see the organization's name.
And it is fun indeed. Maybe one day, we’ll be in the league of the ‘serious’ marathons. But I guess that will be when we have electricity 24/7, water for everyone, social security, organized public transport all over the country and I can go on and on.

They had a cause too; couldn't figure out what it was though.
Actually, I like it better this way.
Request: If anyone has any pictures of Aragu at the start or finish, please inbox them to me (galama at cyberiadotnetdotlb) . I didn't get any!


Najib said...

You know the whole time I Was running I Was hoping to bump into her somewhere and take a picture hehe.

She should participate as a "serious runner" next year to avoid the crowds.

Sietske said...

Najib, she was with the serious runners (bib number #1!), but event there it was crowded.
I met a friend of yours, Paul. How did your marathon go?

Shady said...

Only 12 months??
Looks easy, I think this is the best way to lose weigh also.
Thanks Sietske for the post.