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Friday Morning Run at Marathon Pace - Sept 16, 2011
Written by Jay Fares   
Monday, 19 September 2011 14:32

Friday Morning Run at Marathon Pace - Sept 16, 2011

This Friday morning I headed to the gathering place by the Hills Track steps expecting the usual Friday Morning run and was totally unaware of the challenge that was soon to face me. I was surprised to see the coach and the advanced pack stop at the corner of the Hills park and cross to the other side of the road where water bottles were neatly set. What the heck is going on? Then the real shock came with the realization that we are expected to run a 6 (12) mile loop course at regular marathon pace each at their own level. “Does anyone know the course”? I asked – follow the crowd they said. Having only expected the regular Friday morning course with frequent watering stations, I did not wear my fuel (water) belt, but fortunately I had put on my Adizero XT running shoes, which are comfortable for long distances. I stayed at the tail end of the pack trying hard to keep up with the rest of the runners in order not to lose the trail. Next to me eases in a charming young lady runner who I am sure felt petty on me and stayed back from the pack pacing me and offering me regular encouragement. She turned out to be, I believe, Janita, a cheetah of a runner. She was a God's sent and she knew exactly what I was thinking at every stage of the run offering the right encouragement at every stage to quell the discouraging thoughts that were popping up in my mind. At every stage she made me focus on the next target while continuously regulating my pace. At first I did not realize how long and challenging this course would turn out to be? I am sure happy to have fished it with only one stop for water and a tiny bit of walking past the water station. Thanks to my angel of a cheetah!

Until two weeks ago, I held the belief that I have never ran before joining this group a year ago; This turned out not to be the case. What jogged my memory was the passing on of Kamal Salibi, the noted Lebanese historian and Professor Emeritus at the American University of Beirut (AUB). While studying at AUB, I came to know him as a friend and mentor and he was my running partner for a part of two summers. Our runs around the track were more like a jog than a run, but still he was the first person to introduce me to running. What a privilege it has been to have known him! He was not only a man of outstanding human qualities, a great historian of modern Lebanon, the Arab world, and the Bible, but also a noted authority on the Yemen, which I don't think many people know. He used to visit Yemen regularly to study Yemen history and culture.

His books are a must read for not only Arabs and scholars of the Arab World, but can also make an interesting read to anyone living in this region and wants to learn more about its history.

Happy Running....

Data on this run is available at


Last Updated on Saturday, 01 October 2011 05:36
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