QUIT | By Samira Kaissi
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“Today I met a beast inside me. A beast I haven’t met in a long time. Possibly because this beast stands at the end of the road of your endurance. At the end of your endurance, a place many people don’t visit often, the beast meets you with a smile and says: QUIT!

QUIT..QUIT..QUIT..

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You can’t do this. You’re not young enough. You’re not strong enough. You’re too heavy. You’re too lazy. You’re too weak.

QUIT
Why are you doing this? What’s the point? This is too hard. Your stomach is upset. Your legs are too heavy. Don’t kid yourself. This is not for you. If you can’t finish 14km comfortably you can’t do 42km.

QUIT!
This beast is so persuasive. This beast knows me too well. Knows my fears and my limits. And I listened, and I was convinced. I didn’t have one logical argument against him. The beast made total sense. No one can judge me. I tried my best. At kilometer 7, I had no reason to raise my foot and hit it into the ground one more time. Not one time. My stomach was upset, my lungs were out of air. I ran out of reasons to run. This is the rock bottom of my reasons.
My running angel, Fares Eid, was right beside me egging me on, gently pushing with his hand on my back, encouraging, dancing, singing, picking red flowers from the street for me. Doing anything he can. I indulged him, But the reason had to come from within. And there was none.

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Except. Quitters never win. Winners never quit. A silly phrase they throw around. But this phrase whispered from behind the beast. If that’s the only reason you have now., If you know you are a winner and winners never quit, then you follow that reason. I moved the beast to the side and stomped my foot one more time. I am a winner, I do not quit!
But he ran beside me still. This is stupid. You don’t have to prove you’re a winner to anyone. If you want to quit, quit. You’ll still be a winner in other things.

On my other side, stronger now: Winners never quit.
Now the three of us are running together. My beast loud, amplified by the pain and hardship from every vital organ in my body. On the other side: a whisper.
Then I thought, I need a reason. I NEED a reason. And I thought of my dad. My dad who raised three powerful daughters before he died at 49. Maybe he knows what I’m doing. I can’t quit in front of him. I’ll run for my dad. I’ll show him how strong I’ve become. I smiled, my step got lighter. The image of my handsome father stood between me and the beast. The whispers were louder now: you can’t quit.

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And I thought of my daughter. And suddenly a memory came back so vividly. Early in my pregnancy I was running around the reservoir in Anaheim Hills. I was thinking of quitting and I felt her, I swear I felt her positive spirit flooding me. She told me I can do it. Now my eyes swelled and I felt a sob reaching out from my throat. A huge smile forced itself on my exhausted face. I was crying, sobbing, it was just after kilo10. I’ll do this for my daughter too. She needs to see her mother a winner. I can’t quit.
And then they all showed up: my mother, my brother, my sisters… They all showed up next to me. Now they were all running with me against the beast. I have found my reason, my reasons. I wiped my tears and my runny nose with my sweaty hands. I turned to the beast and screamed in his face:
TO HELL WITH YOU! I’m NOT quitting!

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And he disappeared.

I ran the last 4km as if I just woke up. And they all finished with me. More tears in the last 100m. They wiped them off. My reasons and their love.”

WE CAN BE HEROES | BY CAROLINE ZAKKA
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This week as I sat in bed completely knocked Out  you’d have thought I was recovering from some horrible contagion. I coughed, could barely move and most annoyingly missed out on my Beirut542 training. Coach Walid said it was strictly forbidden to run with a fever and I had to wait until I was fully recovered.

So as I moped around the house nursing my flu symptoms, I watched videos about the upcoming Olympics and I got thinking: what if an athlete who has fought tooth and nail to get to Rio was suddenly sick before the competition? How would a professional deal with an accident? They wouldn’t even stop to think because they’re survivors.

RESHAPING OURSELVES | By Hussein Khalil
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“The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.” – Anonymous

 

The Challenge

In the Beirut 542 program, there is no competition between teammates and teams. However, you will always have to face one challenge, YOUR challenge. In other words, you will always have to challenge yourself by overcoming your pain, ignoring the negative comments, and most importantly, by believing in yourself.
Three weeks have passed since the launching of the Beirut542 program and we have already reached 11k. This is crazy, I agree, but when you have a bonded team and amazing coaches who are there to support you, you forget about the distance, and focus only on the outcome.

 

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The Drills

“The early bird eats the warm”.
Like every week, our sessions start at 6AM sharp in Zaytouna Bay. We are like tender birds that wake up early in the morning to fight a battle at fast pace.
What I like about my team is that we became like a family; we motivate each other, care about each other, miss those who are absent, and share joyful memories.

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The Most Valuable Runner

“Always be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.” – Plato

It was during my day off at the beach that one of the BMA coordinators, Tala, called to inform me that my two coaches designated me as the Most Valuable Runner (MVR) of the team for the month of July 2016. It was such an amazing surprise; I didn’t see it coming. I was so flattered and proud of myself. My coaches’ words describing my commitment and progress made me more than happy.
I want to thank my incredible coaches for their amazing support, without them I won’t have succeeded the long runs that we did so far. I am now pleased to know that all my efforts are paid off and that I am on the right track to reach the 42k during the marathon.

 

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My School Pulse

Since the beginning of the 542 program, I noticed that Beirut Marathon Association is working hard to make our Lebanon a better place. They want to guide our civilization and the next generations towards a better future. By organizing marathons, BMA is able to support critical causes from breast cancer, to handicapped people, to a healthy environment and a greener tomorrow. For instance, they helped My School Pulse Association to organize a 5k run in Faqra last Sunday. The aim of that NGO is to bring education for children at the hospitals. BMA encouraged all 542 runners to participate in that marathon and some of us went!
Thumbs up guys and girls, you made us very proud!
All the support and respect to the BMA team. Keep up the good work!

 

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The Excitement

There is no word to describe my excitement and happiness in this 542 journey. When I run, I am always in a good mood. Running helps me refresh my mind and my body. It also brings positive vibes around all of us. The tough drills make us stronger and push us to be healthier. We run and fight together the long trails, being assured that it will lead us to a magical destination.
After a run, the whole world looks better.

 

 

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#Meet_The_Team

Haytham is a young dynamic guy with a great personality. He is passionate about outdoor activities like football, jogging, and traveling. Seeing him pushing himself during our daily trainings motivates all of us to surpass ourselves too. Nowadays, his goal is to run the big marathon at his own pace non-stop.
Good luck Haytam. Keep the positive spirit up!

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THE BATTLE |BY Hala Kinawi
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Back in history, the ” battle of marathon” was fought by free men raising their new dogma ” freedom against suppression”. After the Athenians won the battle against the Persians overcoming all the hurdles, and proving  their tremendous strength to protect and defend their country.

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A greek champion messenger “Pheidippides” ran all the way from Battlefield to Athens to inform the news of victory. This hero directly died after his speech. In his remembrance, Pheidippides’s hysteric run cultivated the elevation of the marathon event that was introduced in modern olympics at 1896 . This significant history marks the commitment, patience, and goodwill of this man who was highly motivated to run all this distance leaving with every footstep a sign of victory, and a waft of peace and tranquility.

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As I contemplate in this deep historic occasion, I found how motivated i should be. If each of us run for our special reasons, we will create an inner peace that blossoms with every kilometer with more love, positivity, victory, purity & safety to achieve what we want away from the violence encompassing our world.

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Fly so high and prove that all the burdens will make you stronger to  reach the peak of whatever you’re striving for

Run to reach the victory of the finish line

Run to un hide the shiny  #YOU

Run as as if you’re chasing the dreamy paradise of your ambitions

RUN…

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FOLLOW THE WHITE RABBIT | By Caroline Zakka
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“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where.

 

Similarly to Alice, I never gave much thought to where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do. I have missed many opportunities in my life because I didn’t want to make risky decisions and preferred to stick to the safe choice. But then, last week, as I cut my birthday cake and my friends shouted “make a wish,” I knew exactly what to wish for.

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An adventure

Adventure is when you leave the ordinary world to do something that will bring a change. Change might be something uncertain but the most interesting part is that you’re not in control of it. You’re free from your own judgments and this feeling lets you grow, trust your intuition, live out your wildest dreams. Anything is possible, doesn’t that sound like fun? Funny enough this is exactly how I feel during our Beirut542 training sessions, especially now that we are racking up the kilometers leading to the Marathon of November 13th.

 

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How far will you go?

Breathe! I can’t breathe! But I also don’t want to stop! My legs were still going one foot in front of the other but it felt as if someone crushed my sides compressing the air out of my whole torso. Even though I’ve progressed since we started three weeks ago, today it was the heat or a sudden burst of fatigue that sent my mind all over the place imagining the worst case scenario. I’ve never run this far, my heart never beat so fast, I never felt so free…all the things I had never done before kept flashing in my head.
Just then Coach Walid emerged to encourage me: there is a specific way to set a rhythm for your breathing: two inhales, two exhales through your mouth; then as you get used to it, your lungs and your abdomen muscles will expand to allow deeper breaths. So basically, just keep breathing? Even my teeth are tired! And what about my feet? Ok, so keep moving even though my toes are falling off? Sounds mad but I’m ready for it.
Speaking of madness, how amazing is the first person who ran the North Pole marathon, or the first person who planned a Desert marathon?

 

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The activist and author Helen Keller famously wrote: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

Adventurers have all got a spark of madness inside them which makes them seek that little bit of extra out of the ordinary. I see such extraordinary examples in the Beirut542 runners who are the most interesting and compelling people I’ve ever met. They’ve all answered their call to adventure: they will race the distance from Marathon to Athens.
So, when the white rabbit appears, will you follow it? I dare you.

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      #TeamWalid #Beirut542