The Beirut International Marathon is an annual event that was first held in 2003, when it attracted more than 6,000 runners from 49 different countries and tens of thousands of spectators. Since then it has grown, last year attracting 33,370 thousand runners from 96 countries.
The race, created by businesswoman May El-Khalil after a near-fatal running accident, has the theme of unity at its core. It reaches out to all sides of Lebanon’s political spectrum, holding a 3-kilometer race for MPs of any political allegiance, as well as members of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon stationed in the country.
This feeling is captured in the award-winning documentary, “Marathon Beirut: For the Love of Lebanon,” which will be screened in Montclair on Tuesday, April 2 at the French-Lebanese Uncle Moustache restaurant. The 73-minute film, produced and directed by Deborah Harse, chronicles the emergence of a sporting event, the Beirut International Marathon, which defied the political upheaval taking place at the time of its inception, to become a statement of peace and unity.
Donovan Bezer, an attorney in Montclair, is organizing the event. A runner who first ran the Beirut Marathon in 2010 on a dare from a friend, Bezer is also an international coordinator for the event.
“I believe this film is both entertaining and useful in dispelling misconceptions that may be held regarding Lebanon and Beirut,” he says. “The Beirut Marathon may not be for everyone, but I believe a challenging, exciting international event such as this helps to strengthen, diversify, and share our collective passion for running.”
The film showing is free and starts at 6:30pm.
And if you feel like entering a race in an exotic locale, the 2013 Beirut Marathon is slated for November 10. For more information or to register, contact Donovan Bezer at email@example.com or go to the Beirut Marathon Association’s website.