Kanafar Annual Race 2016 – Another successful project by Kherbet Kanafar Municipality

It all started by few young fellow men from our village who aimed high.  Big aspirations with strong determination were the motive that fueled them all along.   Is it doable? Are we ready? Who will sponsor such an event? Legitimate questions asked during each and every meeting by all the committee members and fellow men from our village.  The answer was a Big Yes because we believed in them and in the objective of the Race.
Let’s Go Green – Run for a Greener Village

Two month back, the idea started on papers and few bullet points.  With each day passing, the idea started to become a solid plan where each of the Committee members and fellow village volunteers were assigned responsibilities and missions to achieve.
Few weeks before the starting whistle, and after the full blessing from the Municipal Head and members was received, all the teams started working at different dimensions to make this event a success;
Marketing Teams
Operations Teams
Track Tests
Invitations and Media/Press coverage
Stirring committees and Task Forces
Web registrations and fixed registration centers
All worked in harmony to make sure the event is well prepared given the very minimal resources available.
The night before the race was decisive.  The teams worked hard to make sure all registration logging, checkpoints, invites, security forces, Red Cross, Sponsors, VIPs, etc,…  Sleeping was out of question as all the teams worked round the clock the night before the race to harmonize communication and to make sure everything planned is executed to the point.

It was 06:00 AM – Race Day
Tents were mounted, the barriers were set, the registration tables were moved from the municipal headquarter to the starting point, the security teams took their positions, ATVs and the mobile ambulance ready to go, sponsors section and food area was prepared and the participants started arriving.  It is time for the Drone and at 07:45 am, the numbers were distributed to all the Professional participants (17KM Race) were delivered.  Everyone is waiting for the sound of the gun…and BOOM, the race started with total number of participants reaching 370.  A record number indeed.
Everything went as planned and the participants hit the road.  No more pressure on the organizers as we all were waiting to see who will be the winner.
More and more participants started arriving for the 6KM race and our heartbeats were increasing by the minute.  Another huge number of participants will hit the road in few minutes.  Beside the locals, many foreign participants were ready at the start line.  Americans, Canadians, Europeans and Arabs joined the the race.
We had to make sure that our Operation Teams on the ground were ready.  Communication was key and the central control room confirmed to the organizers that everything is set.  BOOM and the second race started.  What a success.
Less than 30 minutes after the start of the 6KM race, an athlete was spotted approaching the Arrival Arch.  Yes, he didn’t disappoint anyone who believed in his capabilities and determination.  The person who fought the toughest tests in life, his illness, was slowly approaching.  Ghazi Estephan won the Professional Race proving again that he is ready for the challenge as always like our Historical Oak Tree standing still against natural challenges.
The women had their share of success in the 17 KM race and also Mrs. Aline Merheb arrived first after Ghazi.  Lots of cheering from the crowd was heard for both participants.  Unforgettable moments indeed as per many statements heard from our village members and participants.
As time passed by, the 6 KM race winner arrived.  Here, Mr. Raed Saber engraved his name on the winners’ list, as the champion for this race ranking first in men category.
Below a brief table showing the winners for those anxious to know the names of the second and third winners in each and every category:

Race 17 KM (Males)
1 – Ghazi Estephan
2 – Bilal Charanek
3 – James Saber

Race 17 KM (Females)
1 – Aline Merheb
2 – Pauline Jaber
3 – Malak Abou Ezzie – Nathalie Salloum

Race 6 KM (Males)
1 – Raed Saber
2 – Fady Klayani
3 – Mario Saber

The final race was the 6 KM Fun.  Over 150 participants enjoyed the beauty of our village roads along with their kids and loved ones.  A free style race where all won participation medals at the end.
The Municipality President Mr. Toni Chedid distributed the prizes to the winners in a very well organized ceremony.  The Freedom Scout assisted the organizers providing a well presented and disciplined attitude during the ceremony.  A big word of gratitude to the celebrity Mr. Saad Ramadan who decided to show his support for the race and its cause by showing at the start line motivating the athletes.
The race was concluded after the prize handover ceremony.   It is worth mentioning that not a single accident was registered during the race.  A huge success goes to the organizers for such a successful event, the first of its kind in the Bekaa.
Eventually, we have to thank all the people who believed in making this event a success.  Many sleepless nights and hard work by the organizers was the key to this success.  In the event, we have to thank all those who contributed in a way or another to the success of this event.  A big thanks goes to the Municipality President and to the Social Committee, head by Mrs. Hiba Salloum and members Danny Estephan, Joseph Rashed as well as all the municipal members, civil society represented by our young fellow village members who assisted us along the way.
Kanafar Race marks the birth of something big.  Pencil in your calendars this date – August 21st, as it will be repeated and you will make this Event an International Annual Event by God’s will.

Thank you all and all the best for more projects to come.