Italy Just Bestowed Founder Of Beirut Marathon With Prestigious Honor


May El Khalil, the founder of the Beirut International Marathon, has been honored with the Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy, which she received on Thursday from the Italian Ambassador to Lebanon, Nicoletta Bombardiere.

The Italian embassy posted a statement saying: “Ambassador Bombardiere bestowed the honor of Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy upon May El Khalil, founder of Beirut Marathon, in recognition of her work in developing and promoting sport as a tool for inclusion, empowerment, and resilience of the Lebanese society.”

In that, May El Khalil was a pioneer when she launched in 2003 the Beirut Marathon that soon became international, gathering hundreds of thousands of people in Lebanon, and welcoming over 109 nationalities from all over the world on its course ever since.

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It is known to be the largest running event in the Middle East.

The Beirut International Marathon (BIM) is an exciting annual event in Lebanon that requires intensive preparation and immense work. As the President of the BIM, May El Khalil has succeeded every time to make it exceptional.

Her initial vision in launching BIM was to unite people from different religious backgrounds, with different disabilities, and from different countries and encourage everyone to unite while running.


Lebanon’s NGOs have been participating as well, running for their cause and fundraising for it. Public figures and officials also join in, as once seen with Lebanon’s First Lady Andree Lahoud.

Through the years, El Khalil has earned several national and international awards, honoring her endeavors.

Among them, the Laureus World Sports Academy Lifetime Achievement Award Abu Dhabi; the Annual SEAL Dinner in New York; the Fair Play for Peace Award in Italy, and Lebanon’s National Order Of The Cedar, as well as by YWCA Lebanon.

The Order of The Star of Italy was reformed in 2011 from being an award given post-war to being a distinct and prestigious award by the President of the Italian Republic as special merit of friendly relations between Italy and other countries with close ties.

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