All for a Good Cause
Hundreds of LAU runners and volunteers join the Beirut Marathon in support of the country’s unity and the community’s welfare.
Their T-shirts printed with #LAUcares beside the symbolic pink ribbon, approximately 400 runners from the university’s Beirut and Byblos campuses and LAU Medical Center-Rizk Hospital set off on Sunday, November 12, to complete the BLOM Bank Beirut Marathon for yet another worthy cause.
This year, a percentage of the proceeds were destined for the “Courage to Fight Breast Cancer” or “C2” campaign founded by Hiba Yazbeck — a 1997 LAU alumna who was diagnosed with breast cancer — in collaboration with Associate Professor and Assistant Dean at the Alice Ramez Chagoury School of Nursing, Myrna Doumit. The funds will go toward educating women across Lebanon about breast self-examinations and the importance of early diagnosis and treatment.
In aid of this campaign, the Athletics Departments in Beirut and Byblos collaborated with LAU Medical Center-Rizk Hospital, whose presence was distinguished by both a medical and a corporate tent. “Our joint participation and integration with LAU under one cause was amazing,” said Assistant to the President for Special Projects Saad El Zein. “Moreover, the LAU Medical Center-Rizk Hospital medical tent was another proof of our commitment toward serving our community and being part of its welfare.”
Director of the Athletics Department on Byblos campus and Chair of the LAU Marathon Committee Joe Moujaes, echoed the sentiment, remarking that the event “highlights the positive aspects of Beirut and its people” who can put their differences aside and run together to support various good causes.
This spirit of unity and common purpose was felt by runners and volunteers alike. “It was an amazing experience seeing all the LAU students, staff and faculty, especially the medical personnel and the athletics departments, cheering us on and offering us aid and guidance,” said Chairperson of the Department of Communication Arts Jad Melki, who completed the half marathon. “You feel you’re part of a bigger cause and contributing to the community, and proud that LAU values the whole person: the intellect, artistic expression, ethics, and athletic drive.”
Beneath LAU banners printed with the motto “We Run to Save Lives,” the university’s Track and Field varsity team clinched second place in the universities’ relay, and third place in the women’s relay. The runners were trained by LAU graduate and coordinator of athletics, Mohamad Mawas, who initiated what came to be known as the Track and Field team back in 2013 and built it up to become “one of the most successful varsities at LAU.”
More than 95 volunteers gladly gave of their time to motivate the runners and draw public attention to the C2 drive. “LAU’s stand was one of the largest on the Corniche,” remarked Career Guidance Lead Officer at the Byblos campus Hassan Baalbaki, who was responsible for supervising and organizing the volunteers. “It shows how joining the efforts of the athletics departments and the medical center can have a tremendous positive impact.”
First-year LAU student, Rim Zrein found that participating in the marathon increased her confidence in her social skills and reinforced the importance of this type of community service. For Chady Kalaagi, also a first-year student, the initiative “encouraged volunteers, organizers, and runners to work together as one hand.”