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ACS runs for social causes at 2015 Beirut Marathon; first-time marathoners achieve impressive results
Posted 11/09/2015 12:00PM


Dozens of ACSers, young and “experienced” spent their Sunday morning running to support a variety of charities and causes, at the 2015 Banque du Liban Beirut Marathon, held November 8. Most joined the 10K fun run, helping raise awareness for Unite Lebanon Youth Project (ULYP), which creates opportunities for the children, youth and women living in Lebanon to work and learn together.

High school student Rawad Y. ’16 completed his first-ever marathon, in support of cancer patients, and achieved a double-win: He grabbed first prize for his age group and raised an impressive $21,000 for the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon, exceeding his own personal goal by an astounding $15,000. Meanwhile, senior Garbis Ch. finished first in the 5K for national runners and third overall.

“Completing this marathon is one of my lifetime dreams,” said Rawad. “I am running a marathon to show people that running is the answer to many of our problems in our daily life, including stress, anger, sickness, and social conflict. My main motivator is Dani, the cancer patient at the Children’s Cancer Center, to whom I have dedicated my run.” 

Rawad says it all started last year with a TV add about a training program called Beirut 542 that helps runners become first-time marathoners. His team decided to make the run worth more than just the distance and dedicated their achievement to cancer patients in need. It started with a small idea of fundraising that grew into a huge project alongside the training. “My team and I started with a goal of raising $6000 for patients like Dani, but have ended up raising approximately $21000,” Rawad said, beaming. 

Middle School English teacher DJ Saint James and French teacher Nicolas Marlin also ran their first 42.195-kilometer race.

Saint James ran in support of Project Kahkaha, a local organization raising funds to build a playground in the refugee camp just north of Tripoli. “It is such a simple and brilliant cause,” Saint James said. “As a teacher and former summer camp director, I have seen first-hand the importance of a safe and fun place to play for a child’s development.”


His group of runners was successful in raising the funds to build what will be the organization’s fourth playground, with hopes of many more to come.  On what meant the most to him, Saint James said, “The race itself was an incredible experience, but I truly feel honored to be part of such an awesome group of people and I am so excited see the outcome of our efforts.”

With race distances ranging from the children’s 2 kilometer run with their parents to the 42K full marathon, there was an appropriate challenge for all ages and skill levels.

Head of School Hamilton Clark ran in support of ULYP and completed the 10K race for the third time since he arrived in Lebanon. Clark won this race in his age bracket last year, and was eager to participate in this year’s. “This is the first race where I have ever won prize money! If you get old enough and keep on running, even if you are not a speedster, you can stay in shape and have some success,” he said.

Clark’s training consists of running three to five miles three times per week, a regimen he has kept up for 35 years!  For those considering doing the next marathon Clark suggests to “start slow and keep at it.”

“Running is a great way to clear your head and have time to think,” he added.

Middle School Principal Phil Wendel also ran, completing his sixth 10K race in Beirut. While Wendel is an experienced runner  – he has run multiple full marathons in the past—this race is special to him.

“I love the community aspect of this race!  It is so exciting to see the city and country come together to put on this race.  It doesn’t matter what race, religion or country you are from, everyone is cheering for you!”

High School Social Studies Teacher Rebecca Naughton ran the 10K for the second time, although two years ago she did complete the full Beirut Marathon. She mirrored Wendel’s sentiments and pointed to the diversity of the race that helped make it unique, including the variet

A number of ACSers who participated in the event signed up on their own to run for causes that ignited their passion.y in capacities among participants. 

“It is for beginners and professionals. Everyone is included.” 

Ceci Clark ran her second 10K in Beirut and this time ran for autism awareness. “Running is not always fun for me, but why not? This was a great opportunity to help a great cause while being surrounded by a lively crowd,” she said.

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