«I still remember where I was when I heard about the first Beirut Marathon. I was in my car in Gemayzeh. I was ecstatic to know that there would be such a race. I always participated in races in the U.S. and missed the experience in Lebanon. I love this race as it is one of the very few happy days in the country. It is one day that people from around the country and from all the different backgrounds go to the capital to participate in this amazing event. On this day, my hope for Lebanon is renewed, and my hope for a better country is renewed. Lastly, it’s a great fun race with fantastic energy. I love running on the Corniche in the weeks leading to the race as the number of runners training increases. This makes the Corniche buzz with energy and anticipation. It’s a wonderful feeling. I love see other runners out training. There is a mutual respect and camaraderie.»
Mary Anne came to Lebanon in 1994, with her daughter and her two boys. Joseph, and Eric are now at Stanford in grad and undergrad schools respectively. Mary Anne’s daughter Lea is still in high school and will take part in the 5K race on November 8. Her mom is unfortunately not running, being a consultant for Beirut Marathon, this year. Apart from being a veteran triathlete, Mary Anne also organizes events in Lebanon, like the Batroun triathlon. Although she bikes and swims for the triathlon events, she still is happiest when she runs; only running gives her that ‘high’, and that the half marathon distance is her favorite: «It’s challenging, but doable and fun, and my body doesn’t need time to recover from this distance.»
I definitely love quoting Mary Anne, just as much as I love shooting her, especially when she’s running. I recently asked her what made Lebanon special, and she answered: «That’s a hard one. Lebanon is quite a unique place. It has a history of turmoil but like a resilient flower, dies and blooms again and again. I like its resilience; I like its contradiction. I also love its natural beauty and important and ancient cultures and civilizations. Lebanon has great potential but needs to be taken care of.» I’ll definitely be doing more photos of Mary Anne, every chance I get, whether she’s running or not.