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Main » 2010 » November » 17 » Marathon Debatement and May Khalil's message for all runners
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Marathon Debatement and May Khalil's message for all runners
Many of you, who participated in the BLOM Beyrouth Marathon 2010, did criticize the unsuccessful event on his/her own way. That's why, on Monday November 15th, Roger Bejjani, the president of Inter-Lebanon Club, organized a  general runner's meeting at UPT (Université Pour Tous), St. Joseph’s University in Achrafieh - Beyrouth, to discuss the 2010 Marathon race and strive to reach a consensus regarding the course of action to be taken for the year 2011. He aslo met May Khalil the day after and discussed the case of the 8th edition of BLOM Beyrouth Marathon.

After that, in his letter to Beyrouth Marathon, Roger Bejjani said:

As intended, we discussed the problems experienced at the BLOM Beirut Marathon with BMA and specifically with its President, fellow runner May el Khalil. I have always believed that the real nature of people irresistibly emerges when a serious problem occurs. It is at that particular moment that generosity, courage, forgiveness, nobility and love, the big 5 as I call them, make a statement….or not.

On a very wet day in the fall of 2001, May displayed, albeit unwillingly, the "right stuff” that shapes her character and makes her what she is. Nine years later in a different, less critical, but still serious scenario, May has proven once more that as a runner and as a person she’s one of the very few who possesses the big 5. I criticized the 8th edition of BLOM Beirut Marathon, in what some of you considered a soft version of the intimate thoughts of the majority of runners. During my meeting yesterday with May and Faycal (her life partner and husband) I realized that my strong words had caused sadness and sorrow, and that the message I intended to get across could be wrongly interpreted by some. Although I am a firm believer in criticism and accountability as power houses for a better tomorrow, it was not my intention to question BMA’s and particularly May’s integrity, which in my view is immaculate.

May’s email sent to runners (see story below), in which she acknowledges the deficiencies and weaknesses and the reasons for your frustration, is a lesson in courage and wisdom and an example of accountability to those involved in the public service.

Like any heart to heart session, it was not smooth all the way; we mutually acknowledged with pride and gratitude the contribution of BMA to the "big bang” in Lebanese running, the sound business/running model that BMA has successfully built throughout the past years, the awareness towards the art of "giving”, BMA’s generous contribution to champions and record breakers/holders such as Daoud Mustapha, Omar Abdel Latif, Hussein Awadah and Maria Pia Nehme, and last but not least BMA’s great creative initiatives such as the 60m record breaking event. We equally acknowledged with frustration and regret the failures and weaknesses of what is considered by all of us, including May & Faycal, as the runners’ "D Day” in Lebanon.  After setting the stage, we discussed specifics and exchanged views on the concept of the BBM event and the concerns and expectations of the financial partners as well as those of the runners. While May’s vision of a national gathering on marathon day is a valid one, she unequivocally also agrees that building and managing technically solid races (marathon and minor ones) is not incompatible with on the one hand the sponsors’ expectations and on the other hand the social dimension May rightfully wishes to promote.

Searching for such a balance will be our challenge for 2011. BMA and us. It is after all "our race”, the runners’ "D Day” of the year! Cooperation between BMA and the runners’ community will aim to achieve a successful national gathering as well as credible races which will leave every one of us (runners and organizers) with a difficult to erase big smile. Isn’t that what running is all about?

We will keep our fellow runners up-dated regarding progress in this direction. Let’s be positive and bury the negative vibes of the past 10 days. Together we can!

Roger Bejjani
President Inter-Lebanon Road Running & Athletics Club

PS: A special thanks to fellow runners Sonia Hanna & Micky Chebli for building bridges.

Here's the letter from May Khalil to the runners:

Dear runners and Marathon runners,

First let me start by thanking everyone who attended our eighth version of the BLOM Beirut Marathon and those who created the magical spirit of this race.

Second, I would like to let you all know that I have read all the comments that were written about the event, and I feel that it is great to get this kind of feedback (positive or negative) in order to help the Beirut Marathon Association grow and develop to match the aspirations of its public.

Unfortunately this year, we had some technical issues that were not resolved in time for the race, and that created some problems and confusion in regards to the results and times.  Some logistical problems were also noted and recorded for future improvement.

As this is a running event first and foremost, I am the first to recognize that these mistakes were disturbing, and I will do my very best to make sure that they don’t occur again in our future races.  This will be my personal challenge.

This past year, the Beirut Marathon Association organized three major and serious running events:  the Damascus to Beirut Run, which was an ultra Marathon run by a select few athletes who covered 111 kilometers.  The Youth Elite Athlete Program, which was a series of 5 races: Tripoli, Jounieh, Beirut, Saida and Riyak {Zahli} to choose the best 8 youth runners and to help them become the future elites of Lebanon, and the Sprint It race, where a Lebanese sprint record was broken by runner Greta Taslakian. In addition to the Bronze Label that we have applied for through the IAAF.

We are currently working on restructuring our management, and with the support of our strong team and improvements in logistic, technical, and organizational issues, we are certain to continue to put Lebanon on the running map. 

Our calendar is set for the upcoming year and we are forging ahead with great determination and enthusiasm.

Once again I would like to thank each and every person for letting us know what they really think.  All your suggestions and opinions will be taken into consideration as we continue working on improving our events.  We count on your continued feedback and support for the Beirut Marathon Association to keep projecting a positive image of our country.

I continue to welcome comments and suggestions, and my door is always open for all constructive improvements and ideas. Please feel free to give me a call or come and see me at the BMA office in Hazmieh, or write to me about any and all issues pertaining to running in Lebanon.

Yours in sports,
May el Khalil
Beirut Marathon Association

Check BBM criticizes: "Marathoner Deserve Better Than This"

with the agreement of it's president

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