It may not be one of the most recognisable events on the racing circuit, but the Beirut Marathon, with a history that stretches 13 years and field of almost 40,000 runners, has proven to be a welcome respite to many in the Middle East.
Yet the marathon’s visibility to a wider audience may just have taken a welcome boost with news that Paula Radcliffe will be race ambassador for this year’s event on Sunday 8 November.
The event, which is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, includes a half marathon and boasts a stunning backdrop as it takes runners through the Lebanese capital, bringing them to the finish line at Martyr Square. Previous winners include Wilson Kipsang (2013) and Paul Rugut, while Ethiopian distance-running legend Haile Gebrselassie started last year’s race.
It is run on a non-profit basis and defines its objective to, ”passionately organize running events that inspire unity, positively change lifestyles, promote wellness, and provide an experience of challenge, achievement, joy, and glory; for the benefit of Lebanon, both now and for generations to come.”
As part of her role at the event, Paula will speak at the Lebanese American University on the Power of Running For Cause and take part in the Move4Good Forum at Beirut Arab University. The marathon world record holder commented: “I am looking forward to visiting a country I have never been to before and I am looking forward to trying to help make a tiny bit of difference in a country that needs a difference to be made.”
“I am very lucky to go to different mass-running events around the world and they are different in each country. They are all very special and unique in their own way. It’s nice to be able to do that and to experience a bit of the culture in that country and learn about it at the same time you are there.”