The Making-of the First Edition of Beirut Marathon
As we are about to run the 16th Beirut Marathon on Sunday 11th of November 2018, we reminisce over the time when we were first asked to design the identity of its first edition ever, back in 2003. It was a full-fledged communication job with two increasingly challenging tasks. The first was to create a strong brand identity that reflects the boldness of the event. The second was to educate the Lebanese about the unheard-of concept of marathon running, change their mentality positively towards exercise and eventually push them to become runners themselves. Our core conviction in the nobleness of marathons, went far beyond our love for running and so we were determined to make it part of our culture. We were fully immersed in the concept creation process. From the start, our branding strategy revolved around creating an apolitical, unbiased, unaffiliated brand that was both bold and good spirited. The duality of the experience was meant to unite Lebanese people with love and be loved by all Lebanese equally. With a clear strategy, we ran the whole nine yards for the project. We designed the road signs, land marks, media kits as well as the time keeping mechanism. We created a website that people could access for educational, registration and logistical information. We implemented well-crafted marketing campaigns before and after the event. We also rallied sponsors, lobbied and fully covered the event from A to Z. A cultural transformation occurred with the first Beirut Marathon! With strong branding and strategic communication, we succeeded in changing a nation’s mind set towards running. That year, the marathon attracted over 6,000 runners from 49 countries, and tens of thousands of Lebanese and international spectators. A decade and a half later, the Beirut Marathon still stands as one of the country’s most anticipated yearly events. Today, over 47,800 runners participate in this event from all over the world. It became a platform not only for competition but for many societal causes across the country.