How it all Started:
On the morning of October 19th 2003, Lebanon witnessed a unique event in its history and hosted its first international Marathon. It all began with a dream that May El Khalil had of bringing the running culture to Lebanon. After surviving a near fatal accident while running, May El Khalil began to actualize her dream: from her hospital bed she oversaw the emergence of the Beirut Marathon Association. Armed with determination, unwavering resolve, and the help of her family, friends, and a dedicated team of supporters, May succeeded in establishing one of the most successful running events in the region, the Beirut International Marathon. Since the launching of that first race in 2003, the Association has grown and continued to thrive adding annual races, events, and activities that encouraged the growth of the running culture in the country. Today, the Beirut Marathon Association organizes the yearly Youth Race, Women's Race, Half Marathon and Beirut International Marathon. All this is accomplished with one goal in mind: to build the running community and culture across Lebanon with the message of peace and love.
Additionally the BMA provides logistic help and offers its know-how to different organizations and communities around Lebanon and the Middle East who want to organize races of their own.
Honors and Recognition:
In 2014 BDL Beirut Marathon was awarded the Silver label road race by IAAF shortly following the first award in 2010 when the Marathon received the Bronze label. Also in 2010, the AIPS presented the race with the "Power of Sports" award in Lausanne, and the prestigious Laureus "Sports for good award" was handed over to the president of the association by the iconic Morgan Freeman in a superb Event in Abu Dhabi. In the Spring of 2013, the President of the BMA was invited to speak at the TED Global Conference in Edinburgh Scotland, where she told the Beirut Marathon Association's story to an international audience. The video of her talk has since reached over 1.5 Million viewers. In July of 2014 Mrs El Khalil received the fair play for peace award by the Premio Fair Play Mecenate in Italy.
In 2013, and because of its success in professionally organizing the biggest running event in the country, the BMA was able to win the support of the "Banque du Liban" which is the national central bank of Lebanon, as a title sponsor for three years.
The Beirut Marathon has also become a point of reference in the organization of running events, offering its know-how and logistical assistance to many local and regional running organizations. Groups that organize races for charities and causes actively seek the Beirut Marathon Association's expertise on a national and Middle Eastern level.
The scope of the event and its athletic and national importance has encouraged national and international dignitaries from the sports world, the diplomatic corps, and the world of entertainment to have a strong presence at the Beirut Marathon Association's races and to offer support for Lebanon and its people through the Beirut Marathon.
Beirut Marathon Association Timeline
2002: Beirut Marathon Association founded by May El Khalil
2003: Beirut International Marathon "Run Beirut Run" (6,000 participants - 49 nationalities)
2004: Beirut International Marathon "Be part of it" (12,000 participants - 60 nationalities)
2005: BLOM Beirut International Marathon "United We Run" (17,000 participants - 72 nationalities) 5 km "United We Run" (50,000 participants)
2006: BLOM Beirut International Marathon "For Love of Lebanon" (22,000 participants - 64 nationalities) Tripoli-Mina race (22,000 participants) Tyre International Half Marathon (15,000 participants)
2007: BLOM Beirut Marathon - " It's my Marathon " (26,000 participants - 54 nationalities) Zahle International Race (10,000 participants) Dbayeh "Vivicitta Run for Peace" and Torch Relay from Tyre to Beirut (1,000 participants)
2008: BLOM Beirut Marathon "With their Strength we Run" for cancer awareness (29,000 participants) Students run for Peace Mizyara International Race
2009: BLOM Beirut International Marathon " It's Time to Run " (30,000 participants - 73 nationalities) HSBC earth race (7,000 participants)
2010: BLOM Beirut International Marathon "I thought I Couldn't, I Can" (28,072 participants) Damascus to Beirut 111Km run
2011: BLOM Beirut International Marathon "Take it To The Streets" (31,136 participants)
2012: BLOM Beirut International Marathon "Run It all" (33,500 participants - 68 nationalities) Grand Prix Series Regional races in Sidon, Batroun, Aley BLOM Beirut Telethon raises 250,000 USD to help the victims of an explosion in the Lebanese neighborhood of Ashrafieh.
2013: Banque Du Liban Beirut Marathon "We Run For Lebanon" (36,000 participants) 10km Women's Challenge Race (4,200 participants)
2014: BDL Beirut Marathon (37,000 runners - 94 nationalities) Beirut Marathon Women's Race (9,117 participants)
2015: BDL Beirut Marathon (37,811 participants - 84 nationalities) First Annual Youth Race (6,322) participants Rise & Run Women's Race (6,000 participants in Jbeil)