One cannot but notice her:she stands apart from the lot.
I remember first seeing her on the green, before a juniors’ cross-country race start. You just stop and watch. There is this kind of assurance to her: that of heroes.
We tend to think of heroes as men, but seeing this 15 year old girl made me think of a hero too. I stood on the side waiting for the race to start. She looked at me, smiled, and gave me a thumbs-up. I took the shot.
That day she came second to a 17 year old national champion. She was the first of her age class of course. As a matter of fact, Ghiya had been regularly coming in first since she won her age class distance on April 26, 2009, in a race organized by the Beirut Marathon Association. She had entered the competition along with her cousins and came in first without training and without breaking a sweat. It was just 1.5 kilometers and she was only 9. After that, she realized that this is what she was meant to do, and that she would go all the way.
She began real training with Dr Salah Al Farran, and a year later came in second in a cross-country race in Jordan. Ghiya kept that first certificate she got on that day of April 2009 as a reminder of how it all started, and where it will eventually take her. Every race finish line is the start of a new one in that ultimate race we call Life.
Ghiya never quit a race. When she runs she feels alive. You don’t quit on Life. She’ll never bail on her dreams, no matter what the conditions. She won’t quit and intends to reach the Olympics in 2020 and 2024.
I for one believe she can do it. Her coach definitely knows she’ll get there. He had told he she’d win that first race and go on to win so many after it with real training and perseverance, and he knows Ghiya will never stop.
Ghyia is a true hero. Like many kids her age she’ll be racing this coming Sunday at the Yout Race in Dbayeh. We should all go and cheer them. Try and find her in the crowd, she’ll have her emerald Tyre Phoenicia Club on. Try and look into her eyes and see for yourself what courage looks like. And if you missed her at the start line, don’t worry, for you’ll definitely notice her at the finish line; she’ll be among those first to reach it, if not the first.