More and more causes supported by 2014 AUB marathon
AUB track athlete Houry Sofian ranked first in the 42-kilometer marathon’s youth category (17-19 years). AUB has also achieved excellent results in the 42K Relay youth and the 10K youth categories, but official results will be announced on November 20.
In its third edition, “Run AUB Run” was more than a race or a healthy way to spend a Sunday morning. Even though more than 80 athletes participated in the 42K and the 42K relay race and the 10K run, it was the six AUB causes that had mobilized the community to come together to raise awareness about the various funds supporting treatable diseases.
More than 1000 AUB runners, walkers, and volunteers were registered in the 2014 Beirut International Marathon in support of six resident charitable causes, under the “Run AUB Run 2014” slogan.
Three newly created AUBMC-affiliated NGOs joined the marathon this year to raise awareness about various worthy causes. They joined well-established NGOs that continued to advocate for several underserved or misunderstood health problems.
The AUB group supported six causes: Amaluna, Cancer Research Fund, which promotes cancer research; the Champs Fund, which advocates for early and regular cardiac screening for young athletes to prevent sudden death due to undiagnosed heart problems; and the Dialysis Fund, which promotes healthy kidneys. The Brave Heart Fund, which helps fund the medical treatment of underprivileged children born with congenital heart disease; the Multiple Sclerosis Fund, which raises awareness about treatment options for multiple sclerosis; the Embrace Fund for Mental Health Awareness, which encourages lifting taboos on mental illness and psychological problems and seeking proper treatment for them.
Amaluna, Champs Fund, and Dialysis Fund were new additions to the causes supported by the AUB marathon.
Additionally AUB had “community partners” that included AUBMC, Office of Student Affairs, University Student Faculty Committee, University Sports, AUB Wellness Program, and Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service.
The Beirut International Marathon introduced the “Run for a Cause” program back in 2011 to encourage participants to fundraise for a charity via the marathon.
For those participating in favor of the charities this year, the benefits were multiple.
“We came to remind everyone that behind every cure there is a large group of people working on it,” said Liana Hujeiri, a research assistant at the Department of Biochemistry, who was supporting the Cancer Research Fund.
The many supporters of the Brave Heart Fund said they wanted to raise awareness about congenital heart disease, because it’s not acceptable for children to die in their first year because of a disease that can be treated.
Meanwhile, those walking in support of the Embrace Fund would like to remove all stigma surrounding mental health.
“Mental health is an issue that is underserved,” said Cynthia Myntti, an AUB professor of public health practice. “Yet, you see the consequences of those who did not receive mental health treatment, and it’s serious: depression, suicide, even homelessness…”
For Hala Darwish, managing director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at AUBMC, Marathon Day is an important means to promote awareness about multiple sclerosis, a chronic autoimmune disease that attacks myelin, the protective sheath around nerve fibers, manifesting itself in a wide range of symptoms that affect each person differently.
This year renowned basketball player Omar el-Turk ran in support of the MS Fund, helping boost the awareness campaign.
“MS is still misunderstood in Lebanon,” said Darwish, “so we need to keep on raising awareness about it, so that people realize that with the right medical care, they can still manage the disease and continue with their lives.”
In order to mobilize participants, AUB ran a month-long, on-campus campaign to recruit participants. Banners, sign-up booths, posters and e-communications (website and social media) all helped boost participation and excitement for the big event.
On Marathon Day, more than 81,000 Twitter users discussed AUB’s #runaubrun participation in the event with more than 309,000 posts, comments, likes and shares. Live pictures and updates were posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Under the slogan “Peace, Love, Run,” more than 37,000 contestants representing 94 countries participated in this year’s Beirut International Marathon, which was established in 2003 to promote unity among Lebanese. Organized by the Beirut Marathon Association, and sponsored by Lebanon's Central Bank.
The event also included a mother and child run and a race for people with special needs.
Ethiopian Fikadu Girma won the 42 kilometer race in 2 hours, 12 minutes, and 28 seconds. The first Lebanese to cross the finish line was Omar Issa who recorded a time of 2:34. Meanwhile, Molahtas Tscja also from Ethiopa was the winner of the women’s 42 kilometer race, scoring a time of 2:29.12.
Source: American University of Beirut