Running Global – By Hussam Zinedine

Have you ever imagined an African running with a Middle Eastern friend, a far eastern athlete competing with a European one, or a group of runners from different nationalities all at the same place? This would have been an illusion from about three decades. If you ask anyone that time he would laugh saying this is impossible. But since we are living in the “Age of Rapidity”, globalization and improvement of technology in addition to the fast spreading of internet and satellite services, things aren’t that difficult anymore.

The world is becoming a small global village since you can contact and see any person in any point in the world and communicate together as if you are sitting face-to-face. That’s, you can also choose any book from the library of the White House for example, and read it while you are sitting in your house in South Africa thanks to the internet. Also, the satellite services have helped a lot in introducing people of different countries and civilizations to each other. In addition, we can’t separate Business, Sports and technology. Giant enterprises are looking for new markets worldwide for its products. They spread their technology in the countries they start their business. Hence, small firms and companies in that new “globalized lands” would start to benefit from these technologies to improve their productivity and increase their profits. Hence, a need for foreign labor hand was needed since local employees may not know or misuse the new technology. Here the interaction between different people of different religious, ethnics, civilizations, traditions and even political views takes place. As for sports, the effect is almost similar. Countries with improved professional sports like in Europe as an example are using the technology to improve the performance of their athletes to get the best results in the different competitions they participate in. Hence, also through technology almost everybody worldwide will know what that country achieve in a certain competition. On the other hand, if a certain country is organizing an event such as the world cup everybody will not only see the game on the field, but also how significant was organizing of the shuttles, cars & busses to reach the stadium and how perfect was the accessing to it. How improved was the selling of tickets, lights, security systems, etc… on the other hand, small countries like small firms in business will try to benefit from the technologies used by other countries to improve themselves. First to improve the efficiency of their athletes and second showing how brilliant they are in organizing big events and third benefit from the media to advertise for their country as a touristic and business access like Qatar who is hosting the world cup in 2022. Certainly, such countries will be in need for foreign expertise to help them in support and improvement. As for the athletes, technology became very important. It helps them to develop, decrease injuries and the most important it introduces them to the world, to new competitions and new challenges and new records. In running, our main concern, technology is never too far, GPRS watches are now available for any ordinary runner to know how much he/she can perform. It also helped in organizing big running events such as a marathon where more than 25.000 athletes worldwide participate. According to my knowledge, Holland and Germany are two of the best countries who arrange a marathon. So others have started to benefit from them to have a successful marathon with a less number of mistakes. The point here is that as much as the marathon is successful as much as the number of participants will increase. The huge reputation of success will bring more runners who adore running a marathon wherever its held in any point in the world.
The interaction and communication between those people led to better knowledge of others. It breaks the boarders, makes international relations, knowledge of others and will surely lead us to a better world since some of us may have wrong ideas about certain countries. Besides, we should also notice that what means something in a certain culture means something different in another one. For example, while closing the first and the second fingers’ heads on each other in a circular way means “you have done a great job” in Japan, it means “you will be punished for your bad attitude” in Arabic countries.

The rule of successful companies is to close the gaps between its employees to let them know each other more, to break boarders to have more efficiency for more productivity. In sports, it decrease distances, increase level of competence and challenge, introduce us to different ways of training. In a marathon, it gives a picture of a civilized country that respect and adores sports. Who is able of attracting thousands of runners from everywhere introducing the whole world to the place we live in and the roads we cross daily. A marathon shows the world how we can make a “small sporty world in the world” where no visas or passports are needed just the love of running.

The Beirut International Marathon is one of these important events held worldwide. It’s to be considered as said before a mini-world in the world there are runners from almost 50% of the world if not more. The Beirut International Marathon shows the beautiful face of Lebanon where roads are closed for peace, love, passion and sports. The Beirut Marathon Organization also works on interaction and communication between these different cultures, traditions and civilizations of those athletes. Starting from the 42.195km marathon, to the 10,5 & recently the 3 km fun run races to the 1km mothers run without forgetting the Handicapped marathon and races and the Ultra Marathon 111 km from Damascus to Beirut. Due to this mosaic, the Beirut Marathon is one of the huge events knowing how to benefit from the wide spread of technology and globalization for improving its efficiency toward running sports, and in the first degree toward athletes. Hence, Beirut Marathon Organization is one of those few who can make a mini-world in the world. So it’s not strange anymore to see an African athlete competing with a European one or a group of runners from different nationalities, cultures, ethnics, and ethics running in the streets of Beirut.

Hussam Zinedine
Veterans Club