By: Dr. Fadi Hayek
As you knew, I was not supposed to run the marathon this year due to my knee injury this summer so I had poor, non continuous training. I established that I will run the last 15km with my friends from the club to encourage them and thus, to participate in the event in my own way.
But, the day before the marathon Ali Kedami & Chukri (who were both injured) convinced me to run from the start, claiming it will be more fun: “we will run it our pace, our way”, and that was it. The adventure started.
In the morning, all was amazing, meeting the team members, taking photos with them, we laughed, we encouraged each other, we were very cool, I did not know what was waiting for me later on.
At 7:00 AM the race started, and as we agreed, Ali, Chukri & me ran together, we did not take it seriously, we laughed, made jokes and enjoyed the cheering in the first kilometer that was superb.
As we ran, I told Chukri: “We will stop at Barbir and make a short cut through Bourj Hammoud”. But he replied: “Stop complaining, we will run it all, WE ARE MEN”.
At Barbir , the pain started to kick in, but Ali and Chukri insisted to continue . The miles passed, while the jokes and laughter took the place of silence and pain. We had bad time but we did not take it from this perspective, we are runners and we do not give up.
At the 18 km, we entered Damas street, Lamis felt pain in the hip that forced her to slow down, Ali started to go back to help her and then “rejoin us”. Ali is a REAL CHAMP, despite his pain he used to encourage others, support them with water, give advice, and ease difficulty, even if he does not know them. He gave lessons of humanity, generosity and sportsmanship.
At the 23 km, Chukri’s pain becomes unbearable , he began to walk , I continued with Ali but we kept looking back for Chukri every 100 meters, but there wasn’t any mark of Chukri.
Entering Bourj Hammoud (25km), I was exhausted, I couldn’t run anymore. I told Ali I will stop a little bit to rest and wait for Chukri and we will join the others at the finish when they reach Bourj Hammoud again for the last three km with them. Ali went and I saw him disappearing around the turn, Nadia walked on the bridge, tired, but not giving up, she said she would continue and just like the others she disappears in the turn.
I was alone on the bridge, I stretched, took the gel, drank it and I waited for the arrival of Chukri, 5 min, 10 min, 15 min … NO one. I understood that Chukri had to give up .It was long time, I saw runners passing me , they were exhausted, but they kept running.
And then, the famous dilemma , “I continue or not?”, I knew that if I pushed on Bourj Hammoud it will be the point of no return , my body begged me to stay quiet but my head urged me to go forward , I heard the voice of Chukri “stop complaining , advance , we do not give up even if we will crawl we will finish this marathon”. Some minutes of hesitation and I rush in Bourj Hammoud and I, like the others, I disappear in the turn. 26, 27 … 28 km it becomes unbearable, I met Fouad, we spoke to each other; we encouraged ourselves. Arriving at the 30th km
I began to meet friends from the club, they had finished the loop and were in their 36th or 38th km , we encouraged each other, but in their eyes I saw their astonishment at seeing me at this point, I heard the cheer, the “yalllaaa”, I was pushing to the maximum , but the cramps kicked in. Then the big surprise “Georges”, pale, white as aspirin, announced his redraw. This gave me one heavy heart pinch because I knew how much he trained for this marathon and his desire to do it in less than 4 hours, but Georges, is ready for a leap. I am sure that this experience will strengthen him and he will make it in less than 4 hours one day. Then I saw Carl and then Assia, Nadia, and Ali. Everyone, despite their exhaustion, were happy to see me at this stage, each of them pushed me forward to finish.
When I arrived at the 35th km, fortunately there was Fouad & Racha who kept me company .We encouraged each other, it became excruciating, as soon as I ran cramps were covering my legs, stretching, walking… What mess I was putting myself through. I felt I was not moving, the return of Bourj Hammoud did not seem near and I saw all ugly, the landscape was ugly, people were ugly, I wanted but it was too late. I cannot give up, after all this effort, it was less than 5 km left, my body was telling me to stop the non sense, get in the car with the red cross and finish this ordeal “And my head immediately replied “about 5 km left, you idiot, you’re going to give up now, it would be too bad, go forward”.
Arriving on the famous bridge at the end of B. Hammoud, 39th km, more than three km left but yet any advance in my body. When I accelerated pace, cramps were alert, still I must not let go now, even I was afraid of fainting, I was feeling ill , very ill , no more water, no more gel with me, I had consumed everything.
And more than 1 km left, I heard the music from the finish line, I saw the 10 km runners who had finished their race and went home happy. My gel is replaced by the voice of supporters now and my water is the applauses.
And then I saw the “arrival’s red band”. It is finished… I finished the marathon, I have the medal around my neck and I collapsed…
It was my 4th marathon and in the same time this is :
My personal worst Official time = 5h 03min, despite the pain, disgust, fear, sufferance.
But, IT WAS MY BEST MARATHON .
Thanks to my club “Elite Running Club”, the president Dr. Ahmad Khalife, the coach Samer, all runners who encouraged whether it was by one look, one gesture, one word.
Thanks to my partners during this marathon Fouad, Lamis, Nadia, Carl, Assia, Ali & Chukri. I HATE YOU GUYS, YOU ARE THE CHAMPIONS from ALL points of view and all of you will continue to remain in my memory forever.
To Chukri who could not complete the marathon, I dedicate my medal to you bro Ali, you had yours.
To my family who always supported me, there are no words to express my gratitude. I LOVE YOU.
Guys, see you soon
Keep running, see you on the road