Running for a cause
LAU’s outstanding participation in this year’s Banque du Liban Beirut Marathon has earned it three awards.
More than 36,000 amateur and professional runners from across the world took part in the race on Sunday November 10, with many running for charity. LAU set a record for the highest university representation, with over 1,200 LAU students, alumni, faculty and staff lacing up their running shoes.
At an awards ceremony on November 27 to celebrate the marathon’s success, LAU took home three accolades, including the University Spirit Awards, which recognizes the strongest turn out by a university. In the 10K University Challenge, a special award for students, Hassan Iskandar won first place in the men’s category, while Yara Debs took the women’s third place.
Sponsored by the Anthony R. Abraham Foundation and LAU, the university’s delegation ran for The Dignity of Humankind, in support of the Order of Malta Lebanon’s Holiday Camps for the Disabled, Al Fadi Center - Chabrouh.
“The marathon was dominated by the LAU spirit,” said Dr. Elise Salem, vice president for Student Development and Enrollment Management. “The university was visible and working for community on one of the best days of the year, when political and sectarian differences are set aside for a joyous celebration of humanity.”
LAU marked its marathon triumph with a ceremony of its own earlier in the month. The party, held at the Beirut campus on November 12, was attended by the founder and president of the Beirut Marathon Association, May Khalil, Thomas Abraham of the Anthony R. Abraham Foundation and Patrick Jabre, project manager of the Chabrouh camps.
LAU President Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra thanked Abraham for sponsoring LAU’s participation in the marathon, lauding the annual event as a time when people “run side by side to celebrate life.”
Abraham, who is also a member of LAU’s Board of Trustees, spoke emotionally about the unifying power of the marathon. “It is great to be involved in events that reveal the heart and soul of the people who really care about this country,” he said.
Abraham and Jabbra then presented a check for LL 12,200,000 to Jabre.
Expressing gratitude to the Anthony R. Abraham Foundation and LAU, Jabre said that the center was looking forward to expanding and welcoming student volunteers for the next holiday camps. “Just like the marathon, the same spirit of equality drives our approach at the camps,” he said.
Liaising between the university and the Beirut Marathon Association was chiefly led by the LAU Outreach and Civic Engagement Office (OCE). Some 150 volunteers, 50 of whom worked directly with the association, were present on the day of the event at both the gathering area in Biel and LAU’s water station at the Riviera Hotel.
“For once, you could see people running as a united body, not thinking about politics,” said Reem Bou Houssein, a second-year journalism student who braved the marathon. “I will definitely participate next year and the year after.”
Another student who felt energized by the race was Christopher Finan, a senior business management major. “Running was a personal challenge I had set myself. It was my first time taking part in a full marathon and I not only beat my personal goal but also ran for a good cause. I would do it again in a heartbeat.”