You obviously have to be extremely fit to run a marathon; you need stamina, endurance, months of training and obviously you need vision. You should be able to see the finish line behind the hills, the buildings, the asphalt, the road that just stretches under your feet, but that didn’t stop Rabih, who has been blind since age 16, from joining the Beirut Marathon this year and be the first ever Lebanese blind person to do so.
Rabih only started running a year ago with the help of Mary Kley and is determined to complete the 42K after he was able to finish 7k, 10K and 21K runs. Mary will work as his pacer, which is someone who runs with you to guide you all through the race: when to slow down, when to speed up and when to stop. Mary’s task is twice as hard as she needs to concentrate for two people and keep Rabih focus throughout the whole run. “The biggest challenge they will face is that they are tied together. Rabih runs holding a rope that’s attached to Mary’s hand, otherwise he wouldn’t be able to follow the running track. Another thing is that Mary must warn him of bumps in the road, of runners around him and of any upcoming obstacles as they run. He may be blind, but he has her vision”.
Mary and Rabih have been training with Team Walid as part of the Beirut 542 program to run the Blom bank Beirut Marathon Beirut Marathon Association on November 12, 2017.
Best of luck to these two outstanding athletes and human beings and we will be cheering for them as they cross the finish line!