Q & A: Lilly Saad Bejjani: Started running 18 months ago, already done 4 marathons.

Most of us know “Lilly” from running with the ERC on Beirut Cornish (before she traveled to Qatar), participating in races, winning podiums (most of the time). But what most of us do not know, is that she started running only 18 months ago and has already done 4 marathons till now.

Lilly during Doha Marathon

Lilly during Doha Marathon

This is the evidence that running is a mixture of training, patience and will, when you have the  three elements together  nothing is impossible. Lilly has recently done “Doha Marathon” and finished third overall in the female category. We had the chance to ask her about this experience, about Beirut International Marathon and about her future plans.

1 – When have you started your preparations for “Qatar Marathon” & how was it?

 I ran the Beirut Marathon on November 10th & came 3rd in my category. I took a few weeks  off from  long distances (above 15 km) then I randomly decided to enter a 50km ultra-marathon in the desert of Oman in February, so I started training for that. I asked our friend Ali Kedami for a training program and he incorporated the Doha Marathon as a training run. So, I was supposed to go slow, but I could not resist speeding up the last half in order to be 3rd.

 2 – What were your expectations for the result, did you expect such an achievement?

 I took it as a slow long run at first, so it was very enjoyable, no pressure, and no stress. Everything was in line. And I just felt like I was dancing so I was flying in the end

 3 – What is your target in the future?

 I am very grateful for the results I have been able to achieve. I have achieved podium for 3km, 5km, 10km, 21km & 42km. My next target is podium for 50km.  

 4 – This was your fourth marathon in 2013 or per total of participation in  marathons? What were the others and which one was your favorite?    

 Since I started running 18 months ago, I have ran 4 full Marathons (Beirut twice, Dubai and Doha) and numerous other 10 km, 21 km.

Beirut was my first and will always remain closest to the heart. Running with ERC is like a party. It’s amazing. Dubai was my least favorite even though I achieved a PB 3h37. 

 5 – What is the difference between Beirut Marathon & Qatar Marathon?

 This was the first ever Doha Marathon, though it was well organized, there were a lot of key elements missing: no medals, no gels or nutrition along the way, not many people cheering you on.  Beirut is another experience. Beirut is about the Lebanese and feeling the spirit of the people in every kilometer.

 6 – Do you think you can achieve the same result in Beirut Marathon, at least for the Lebanese category?

    I already have. I was 3rd in the Nov 10th, 2013 Marathon. 

 7 – How many marathon(s) are you willing to run in 2014, which of them you will run for sure ( in case there are more than a single marathon)?  

   I have not yet decided what my 2014 plan is,  as I have found with running, I dream about the Marathons around the world, but I have to take one race at a time since I have a full time career with GlobeMed in Doha and my 2 years old son, those are my priorities. 

 8 – What is/are the marathon(s) that you would like to run in the future ( you  cannot do it right now)?     

 Since I am from Montreal, I would love to go back and run the Montreal Marathon. I would also love to run in Asia/Europe. For now, I’m focusing on the Middle East.

 9 – Do you think that you may take part at a Desert Race (250 km) one day?

 Once I have run about 10 Marathons, I think I would love to run an ultra long distance Marathon. I have often looked into the Race the Planet series. That is definitely a dream. 

 10 – Last word.

 I encourage all women to run. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you. I started after having my baby and it only made me stronger. We should encourage all women to pursue their dreams even after they become mothers. I am blessed to be able to run, I cherish every kilometer as a gift.