It was raining that Sunday of November 2012. A girl was standing by herself with tears in her eyes waiting for her mother. When the Beirut Marathon 5 Kilometer race started earlier that morning they were together, mother and daughter running side by side. The day just before that, they had also been shopping together for their running gear.
You see, Mila had decided out of the blue to run the 5 KM race with the Beirut Marathon. Not just to run mind you: «Mom, I’m gonna run the Marathon, and win! You’ll see.» Dima, Mila’s mom knew what her daughter was capable of, and that when she set her mind to do something, she did exactly that and never quit on anything she decided to do, ever.
Mila started taekwondo at age 3 with Master Noel Mkheiber, and today at age 11 she’s on her way to get the black belt. Mila also plays tennis and skies, and she started to play guitar and wants to also learn to play piano. Yet with everything Mila’s doing, something made her want to take up running: not as a hobby but as a real competitive sports activity.
«When you run, you run for a cause!» that’s what Dima told her daughter who wanted to register in the last minute at the 2012 Beirut Marathon 5 Kilometer race. So, on the morning of the race they met the people form the Brave Heart Fund, that helps underprivileged children suffering from congenital heart disease, and Mila decided she would run for those children, and she imagined that they would run with her in the years to come.
On that Sunday of November 2012, Mila came in third in her age category. Her mom had to let her go very early in the race, and Mila slipped through the crowds, past all the other runners and got to the finish line in 28min. She had just turned 9 and had run her first 5 Kilometer race! Four months later, at the Beirut Marathon’s Women’s race Mila ran again, this time against kids as old as 17 and came in 3rd overall, covering the 5 Kilometer distance in 25 minutes.
Mila is 11 now. She’s been training regularly for a year and a half with Coach Mhammad Tabbara from the Elite Running Club. She feels good about today’s youth race “Got to run”: She got new running shoes for this day. Mila in turn drives her friends to excel and do better: «I’ll be your coach» she tells them, «you just need to do what I do, and we’ll get there together!»
I wonder whether Dima knew that her daughter had won when she caught up with her on that first race 3 years ago, and found her waiting in rain with tears in her eyes: did she know those were tears of joy. This Sunday, March 22, I shall look into Dima’s and Mila’s eyes and see a better future that only mothers and daughters, women like them, can bring…
But wait, there’s more! This coming June Mila will be going with some of her schoolmates from the College Protestant, and their coach Mr. Socier to represent Lebanon in the Women’s Soccer World Cup in Quebec for the 11-13 Benjamin’s age group. I guess Mila’s not waiting for what the Future might bring; she’s making the Future one stride at a time.