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Beiruth Marathon: interview with Mark Dickinson

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Interviste
Pubblicato 18 Agosto 2010

What does the marathon league offer to your race?

The marathon league is a platform for building awareness of the races that take place around the Mediterranean Sea. All of our races benefit from International and Local participants and creating an awareness of these different races builds confidence amongst travelers that they will find a race of international standards wherever they join a member marathon.
 

What is expected from the league? 

The league was launched on the platform of goodwill, friends helping friends. Our expectation from the League is to promote equally one another at each of the member races and ensure that people will be welcomed whenever they register for one of the race.
 
Would it be possible for italian tourist to partecipate in the Beirut Marathon, increasing the flow of the tourism beetwen two countries?

We already have a strong participation from the Italian Community in Lebanon from the UNIFIL forces in the South. Additionally, Rai Uno has been present at most of our races and carried sports news to Italy. We have also been partners with Vivicitta


What contribution can be made by Lebanon to the league?

We are well situated in the Arab world to communicate to the Arab runners the diversity and choice of races available around the world. We also use our contacts to gain exhibition space at non-marathon league member events to promote the MML. By  doing this we enhance the reach and influence of the league and develop the awareness of the organization for promoting sports.

What are the attractions for your marathon?

We have the biggest annual running event in the Middle East with over 30,000 participants in all our races. We are the leader in Lebanon for running and we have a lot of fun and entertainment involved in the race. The event is preceded by an Expo for runners and community to be involved in. Lebanon is renowned for being a war-torn country, but the Marathon portrays the country in a very positive light as it unites all the different backgrounds and beliefs under one event.


What are the elements of the track?

Our course is highly competitive and has been modified a little each year to exclude as many of the hills as possible. Beirut is located on a series of hills, so it is quite challenging to ensure that the race is internationally competitive. The map for the course is on our website as is the profile.
 
What's new for the next edition?

This year the event will feature a 42k relay in teams of six persons. We also have a fabulous finish line that will be the envy of every race around the world. The finish line is being constructed by a major exhibition organizer and brings traditional Lebanese spirit to the International event. We also have added a 1k Run with Mom where moms can participate with their children in strollers… a wonderful event within the event. We will also be running for charity and hope to raise $1,000,000 for charity through the race this year.
 
What are your goals for the next event?

Our main goal is safety and fun. The event is an National Event for Lebanon… last year the President of the Republic gave the start signal and the Prime Minister actually ran the race, as did the First Lady. Providing the nation with a moment of hope and happiness is our top priority and we work to ensure that this is the experience of every participant.

Are your financial resources sufficent enought to maintain the similar standards to other league members?

Absolutely. Our event is well sponsored, the medals and t-shirts and course organization are international standard and comply with IAAF requirements. Our timing is electronic and the quality of the give aways are second to none.
 
What are your future plans to guarantee the standards for future events?

This is our 8th edition of the event, that has grown from 6000 in the first year to 31,200 in its seventh edition. This shows that the country has adopted running as a national sport. We are working on sponsoring two athletes in the long distance events at the 2012 London Olympic Games and building up the national interest and support this. Lebanon has not had many Olympic medals over the years, and it is our ambition to assure a medal by 2020. Additionally, the Beirut Marathon supports Youth Sport and holds and national running day each year where every school is invited to send its best athletes to participate in this one day event. There are 5 national selection races held simultaneously and the top 8 athletes from across the country are chosen to be the Youth Elite Athletes at the Beirut Marathon. These youth receive a one year support from the Beirut Marathon in terms of training and international exposure (attending other marathons) as well as equipment and media opportunities. We create stars out of them, to inspire others. We also organize top flight running events such as a star studded indoor 60m sprint event where we construct a sprint track to IAAF Standards inside a Mall and get all of the national champions from every category to compete and try to break the national record… we did that!
 
Why did you choose to join the league members?

We believe in building relationships with all marathons and the opportunity to forge closer bonds on a formal basis between other marathons is a step to helping everyone realize that we are not competing against each other, but we are complimentary to one another. We think that we have much to contribute to the energy and passion of running, therefore we joined.
 
Whar are your relentionships with other league members?

We know some of the others for several years and have already cooperated with Istanbul and Roma in the past and we will be working to encourage participation with the others. We also are ready to support the presence of visitors from the other marathons in our race, as technical observers and as invited participants in our Expo.

What are your short term goals? 

To be the best that we can be and inspire others to do the same!

 

 

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