Despite the devastation and political upheaval in Lebanon after the July 2006 Israeli invasion, the Beirut Marathon Association chose to move forward with their November event. However, five days before the race was set to begin, government minister Pierre Gemayel was assassinated. The country went into three days of national mourning, with thousands gathering in downtown Beirut as an expression of both grief and unity.
After much deliberation, the Marathon Association again decided to go ahead with their event. When further political hurdles and delays materialized, there was mounting concern that the Lebanese people might be fearful of taking part in the marathon—yet more than 22,000 people showed up to participate in the 5km, 10km and 42km races, with "For the Love of Lebanon" as the event’s inspirational theme.
In her insightful and inspiring documentary about the staging of the 2006 Beirut Marathon, director Deborah Harse perfectly captures the chaos, determination and ultimate rewards of keeping the annual Lebanese event alive in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
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