On a personal note, day to day life is continuing `as normal` for me here. There are plenty of challenges to contend with but ultimately, plenty of rewards that come along side by side with this. I am bursting to tell you about a very special event which I was lucky enough to take part in recently. That is the Tripoli International Half Marathon! After noticing some advertisements around town, I made enquiries and eagerly signed up to take part. It was an experience I will never forget.
About one thousand people took part, only twenty-four of whom were women! There were a few elite runners from overseas, but the majority of runners were Lebanese. Two of my MSF colleagues who work in Beirut, Laurent Wildhaber and Pierrick Grousson, made the journey to Tripoli, and took part in the race with me.
The race took place on a Sunday and began at 9am in order to avoid the killer heat of the midday sun. So we were up at an untimely hour stretching and eating cereal bars. We followed a 21 kilometers route around the streets of Tripoli, attempting to run in the shade where we could (This effort was futile; there was no shade). At drink stations I found myself frantically pouring bottles of water over my head, trying not to self-combust, and lacking any poise, unlike the acclimatized locals!
All in all, the three of us managed to finish the race in respectable time and we received our medals, which we will hold as precious reminders of a great occasion. It’s not everyday you get the chance to run a half marathon race when on a mission with MSF in the Middle East!