Olivier’s first marathon was an ultra. Back in 2008, in Paris, an ad for the Marathon des Sables caught his attention. He had never run in a long distance race before, not a half marathon, or a 10K, not even a 5K. Still Olivier felt he really needed to take part in a 242K race in the Sahara desert. He was 33. His wife was pregnant with their first daughter, they would name her Dhalia. Maybe Olivier felt that with parenthood upon them, now would be a good time to try something crazy; as he might no longer have the chance to try anything remotely resembling excruciating long distance races. He was wrong; not about the excruciating part, but about this type of race being his last. It was in fact just the opposite.
Since 2009, Olivier has been taking on big marathons, one after the other; New York, with as little a month’s training. It goes without saying that the excruciating part was along for the ride there as well. In 2010, came Paris and Berlin. Then Beirut marathon in 2011; Olivier and his family had already moved back to Lebanon a year prior. Olivier also managed to slip a Bourges-Sancerres 70K ultra, somewhere in there. And then in 2013, logic followed its course, and triathlons started rolling in; lots of the Olympic distance triathlons, and last year Nice and its full Ironman where Olivier did a good time, and still had plenty of room for personal improvement, and personal bests. Next July, Olivier will be taking on the Challenge Roth, the most sought after triathlon ever, already booked out a year in advance. He’ll get close to that 10h mark he needs to qualify for Kona, the dream destination for all triathletes.
Olivier is part of the TriGang, a team of triathletes, based in Beirut, bent on invading all Ironman races in the guise of an ultra-cool barbarian horde, complete with its own visual indentity and rallying cry. Of late, cycling became Olivier’s favorite sport. Still Olivier keeps a special place in his heart for running, and that very first adventure of a race, in the Sahara night, with those green lasers on the horizon guiding him to the finish line, home, and his pregnant wife. Six years are not a long time, and yet Olivier has come such a long way since his first race, and for his daughter Dahlia, six years are simply a life time. She will be running along with her dad, her first 2K in Beirut Marathon, come November 8. It all started with running, and will do so again.