For Lebanon’s Disabled, Change is a Marathon not a Sprint

For Lebanon’s Disabled, Change is a Marathon not a Sprint
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Published October 23rd, 2017 - 13:26 GMT via

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Photo: The Daily Star
Photo: The Daily Star

Thousands of runners took to the start line of the third Tripoli “Together We Can Run,” race Sunday with the intention of raising awareness for the needs of people with disabilities. Organized by the Together We Can Run association, the race passed through the city’s Qalamoun and Mina areas and was held under the patronage of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who was represented by MP Kazem Kheir.

The race aimed to promote awareness about Law 220/2000, which concerns people with special needs, and was held in cooperation with the Social Affairs Ministry, the Municipality of Qalamoun and a number of associations.

The first race, started by Col. Nasser Al-Din, saw 38 participants in wheelchairs race for 10 kilometers on a circuit from Qalamoun to Al-Natour. George Wahba won, with Hassan Dia in second place.

“I have also participated in previous years’ marathons; this is the second time I came in first. We participate every year to reiterate our continued demand to fully apply Law 220/2000, which directly concerns us,” Wahba told The Daily Star. “We would like to thank the [Together We Can Run] association for organizing this event.”

The race passed without incident, except for one of the competitors picking up a puncture. He was helped from the course, uninjured, by a team from a nearby Islamic Medical Association ambulance.

A race for people of all ages with special needs followed, covering a distance of 1 kilometer. Around 500 athletes from handicapped associations participated.

Over 2,000 children up to age 15 participated in the third race.

The day’s final race was a fun run of 5 kilometers for participants of all ages; more than 7,000 took part.

Nizam Moghit, a brother of Lebanese soldier Ibrahim Moghit who was one of 10 Lebanese captured and subsequently killed by Daesh (ISIS) in 2014, fired the starting pistol.

Speaking to The Daily Star MP Kazem Kheir said: “We are running to support an important, targeted issue and Hariri is one of the major backers, not only for people with special needs, but for all the oppressed in this country.”

He said that the prime minister is keen to support events such as this, which were for young people and that promote sports.

Regarding Law 220/2000, he said: “We, as [the Future Movement] bloc and as a movement, support any law that backs people with special needs.”

Talal Dunkir, mayor of Qalamoun, said: “This is the third time this race has been held, which we consider a very important step away from [political] problems.” He added that “the number of participants is increasing, and we are [pleasantly] surprised that participants come from [all around the country].”

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