BEIRUT / NABATIEH, Lebanon: Runners raced around Nabatieh, Beirut and Tripoli Sunday, in three competitions organized with an eye to promoting change and championing social causes. In Beirut, the Saradar Bank Women’s Race had the largest turn out of the day, held under the slogan “Draw Your Path.”
Organized by Saradar Bank and the Beirut Marathon Association, the event was also divided into multiple categories, including a 10 km, 10 km para-athlete race, 10 km relay race and 2 km.
Lea Iskandar, Mona Lahib and Zainab Farhoud won first place respectively in these races, according to the results posted on BMA’s Facebook page.
“The marathon was a huge success, with 4,500 participants. You have first time runners who placed very high up,” race director Wissam Terro said in a video posted to the Facebook page.
The race held in Nabatieh was linked to an ongoing awareness-raising campaign on the dangers of cluster mines, and importance of landmine clearance.
Speaker Nabih Berri and his Amal Movement organized the race as a reminder of Israel’s military action against Lebanon, which has left thousands of unexploded ordnance and mines across the south that teams are still clearing today.
“On April 18, 1996, Israeli began Operation Grapes of Wrath, and killed 102 Lebanese and wounded 100 others,” Amal MP Yassine Jaber said before firing the starting shot of the race.
“Today, we turn this sad day into a day of hope,” he said.
During the race, young girls offered lemonade to attendees, promoting investment in the agriculture sector of the south.
The Mines Advisory Group, an international humanitarian organization stationed in Lebanon since 2000, helped with the awareness campaign, explaining to children and young adults how to identify and avoid cluster mines.
Tripoli’s half-marathon, now in its ninth year, also took place Sunday under the legend “With your strength, we run.”
“There is no doubt the region is deprived ... We are working to remove political tensions that can affect the city and its residents,” former Sports and Youth Minister Faisal Karami said during the half-marathon’s opening ceremony held at the Rashid Karami International Fair Complex.
“Security and economic stability follow political stability,” Karami said, calling on all Lebanese to vote in the parliamentary elections scheduled for May 6.
The Tripoli Half Marathon event is typically held to raise awareness about specific issues, using sports as a vehicle to convey messages to Lebanese youth.