Under difficult weather conditions, Ethiopians Kedir Fekadu and Saeda Kedir were victorious at the tenth edition of the BLOM Beirut Marathon on Sunday (11).
The rain and windy conditions did not stop more than 33,000 participants from filling the streets of the city for this IAAF Bronze Label Road Race. However no course records were broken due to the heavy downpours at different points during the race. Ethiopian and Kenyan athletes maintained their dominance of this race.
Taking the lead in the men’s field was Fekadu who clocked 2:12:57, followed by Kenyans Stephen Chepkopol in second place with a time of 2:13:14, and William Kipsang in third with 2:14:53.
In the women’s race, Kedir won with a time of 2:35:08, followed by Kenyan Monica Jepkoech (2:36:20) with Mary Akor of the U.S. in third (2:37:32).
Runners from 96 different nationalities ran the different races: The Marathon, the 42.195 km relay race, a 10 km fun run, a 5 km youth run, and a 1km run with mom and celebrity run.
The weather on race day created special challenges to the organisers as high winds, heavy downpours, and at times hail hammered the runners, the organisers, and all support staff, who remained determined to offer a great race for all participants. The course became slippery at times especially on the long steady inclines, but some very good times were still achieved at the end of the day by all athletes.
This year a new event was introduced which was the 1Km celebrity race, added in order to get the general public interested in running and in the main campaign of the race this year which was: “Break a Negative and Run”. The title of this campaign was put into action in order to create an atmosphere of positive sports values in the country in the face of the unrest in the region, and especially after the unfortunate explosion that rocked Beirut a few weeks back. The running community rallied to help the victims and seven Lebanese Marathon runners dedicated their race today to raising funds for this cause, in coordination with local television station LBC, who ran a telethon for this purpose during its live broadcast of the race.
In attendance at the start and finish lines were national and international dignitaries and a good number of spectators cheered the runners under the rain. The Marathon winners were honored at the podium with an award ceremony that was attended by Beirut Marathon Association President May El Khalil and CEO of BLOM Bank the title sponsor of the event.
As for the Lebanese winners, it was returning Lebanese men’s champion Houssein Awada who won with a time of 2:28:29. Maria Pia Nehme won the women’s domestic title in 3:16:38.
Organisers for the IAAF