It was one of those Sundays that you don’t mind waking up so early even though your body is dying for rest and relaxation. Today’s event was the first in the history of the city, organized by Tripoli youth forum in collaboration with many other local sponsors. A couple of years ago, The Beirut marathon association organized a similar event but it was an imported one. Today’s half marathon was purely local, 100% Trobelsi! & this was the added value to the whole event.
The fact that the path was in the city, the main roads were closed and no car could reach the start line the usual way. The taxi we called to get there said he couldn’t find any way to get to us, so Farah, Nour and I took off @ 8:45nt not sure if we’ll be able to be at the start line on time. Luckily, we found a taxi driver who wasn’t aware of the whole event. As we arrived to Linea Verde square, he couldn’t go any further. I innocently said:” perhaps it’s because of the marathon thing”. “Yeah, probably” he shook his head in despair trying to figure out a way to go back. We got off the taxi, not sure if the driver has noticed the numbers attached to our backs.
We started walking towards the Quality Inn, a pre-marathon fast walk to the start line. We were going the other way around opposite the 21 Km runners’ lane. The funny thing about it was that everyone started asking us if we have finished the race when we haven’t started it yet. I called Nour. K she said she’s waiting at the start line with Diala which was pretty similar to finding a needle in a haystack. When they gave up hope of the fact that I could find them and decided to start the marathon I was miraculously standing in front of them!
Farah & Nour wanted to run. I walked with Nour, Diala & Dina, who joined the crowd later. Watching the sleepy city shine with life on a Sunday morning is joy to the heart. Watching other people walking is another interesting subject. I saw groups of teenagers with drembakeh trying to spice things up, parents with their children sometimes walking beside them, sometimes on their shoulders. I saw professional athletes from different nationalities along with men over 60 with grey hair but young spirits. I saw people sitting on the sidewalk to catch their breaths, people in cafes & on the balconies watching us walk. If you look further in front of you, you can see the white T-shirts forming a lovely mosaic scene. The slogans, the signs were very original. But I have to admit that I never thought 5 Km were that much! I dragged my feet and forced myself to arrive at the finish line. I made it in 1 hour and 30 minutes!
After the finish line, and in Rachid Karame’s fair, a stage was built to celebrate the day. Different local DJs were able to make everyone dance! There was this guy who was carried by his friends and his dancing moves made everyone else laugh! A group of middle aged men started a Dabkeh, some bikers made some serious stunts on their bikes, some other teenagers break danced, and many other people joined in singing and clapping… Even the biye3 l ka3k was dancing while 7ammesing the ka3ket. Also, the infamous “Sabine” most popular with the hit “b3atli email w 7kini” performed live on stage; actually she was lip-sync that turned out to be very wise, a real mercy after having heard the Lebanese anthem with her voice!
The festivities lasted even after we left. On the way back, cars took back their regular circulation and workers started removing the finish line stand. Lavajet started cleaning around. Although the marathon didn’t meet many of its objectives such as go green, & drive slowly, but it was an experience worth blogging. Perhaps the marathon as an event could have been more organized; perhaps some other few touches would’ve made it even better. But as a first experience I say bravo Tripoli! With all your flaws and contradictions, I just love you!