Race ambassador Paula Radcliffe at the press conference for the Beirut Marathon (© Organisers)
In its 13-year history, the Banque du Liban Beirut Marathon, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race has repeatedly proven itself a beacon of hope and inspiration in the often strife-torn Middle East and the event has grown to more than 37,000 runners.
Now the organisers are delighted to announce that marathon world record-holder Paula Radcliffe will be a race ambassador at this year’s event on 8 November in the capital of Lebanon.
“I am looking forward to visiting a country I have never been to before and I am looking forward to trying to help make a tiny bit of difference in a country that needs a difference to be made,” said the now retired 41-year-old 2005 world champion.
“I am very lucky to go to different mass-running events around the world and they are different in each country.
“They are all very special and unique in their own way. It’s nice to be able to do that and to experience a bit of the culture in that country and learn about it at the same time you are there.”
Radcliffe will be kept busy during her time in Lebanon.
Among the events on her itinerary are speeches at the Lebanese American University on the Power of Running For Cause. She will take part in the Move4Good Forum at Beirut Arab University, which showcases stories of people who use sports as a means to move for the good and well-being of their families and communities.
Radcliffe is also looking forward to meeting with children of the Syrian refugees currently living in Beirut
A three-time winner of both the London and New York marathons, she is also a mother of two young children herself, and Radcliffe is particularly drawn to this event.
“I think that is going to be really important. I wanted to be able to take some stuff along to the kids. My kids grow out of things and they wanted to send stuff, like when I go to Kenya and take things for kids there.
“I still think it’s important to be able to experience that myself and to support as much as possible and come back to explain to children so they learn what is going on around the world and what can be done to make it a better place for everybody.”
Radcliffe marked her retirement from competitive athletics with a London Marathon appearance this past 26 April.
However, in Beirut she is scheduled to take part in a 3km run with a group called Beirut 542, a community-based initiative.
Paul Gains (organisers) for the IAAF