May El Khalil
As founder and president of the Beirut Marathon Association May El Khalil is of ten on the run. But that doesn’t stop her from taking the time to enjoy the natural beauty of Lebanon. She shares with LT some of her favorite spots
WHERE WOULD YOU CONSIDER THE MOST BEAUTIFUL STRIP TO RUN IN LEBANON AND WHY? IF SOMEONE WERE VISITING LEBANON FOR ONLY 24 HOURS WHERE WOULD YOU TAKE THEM? TELL US ABOUT ONE DESTINATION IN LEBANON THAT NOBODY KNOWS ABOUT – YOUR HIDDEN GEM AWAITING DISCOVERY? WHERE IS YOUR IDEAL SUMMER GETAWAY IN LEBANON AND WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING THERE? WHERE IS THE OLIVE OIL IN YOUR KITCHEN FROM? WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO ENJOY A T YPICAL SUNDAY LUNCH OUTSIDE BEIRUT?
There is no specific place I can choose; to me, ever y single corner of Lebanon is a precious gem. Although this is not a secret [destination], I would highly recommend a visit to the Barouk Cedar Reser ve to exper ience the positive energy and organic ambience. Any place that ser ves organic traditional Lebanese food. Whether it is enjoyed at a small restaurant with three or four tables in the mountains or on a picnic by the r iver, our native cuisine is the way to go. By the seaside or on any of the beautiful mountains of Lebanon are for me the most inspirational places to run. We have such natural beauties in our countr y that we should appreciate and relish.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE OUTDOOR ACTIVIT Y IN LEBANON AND WHERE DO YOU DO IT?
Nowadays, my personal favor ite is in Monsef, Batroun, because of my summerhouse on the seaside – it has a stunning shoreline. I love spending time there with my family and grandchildren by the breathtaking Mediterranean Sea. Well, of course, my favor ite outdoor activity is running, but the occasional hike in Baskinta, renowned for its natural beauty, is definitely high on my list. You can visit, you can run, you can walk the one million steps between the nor th and the south, but in the end it is only truly meaningful when we are doing it all together, side-by-side. I would tr y my best to take them to all the main landmarks of Lebanon star ting with the National Museum, then head up North to visit the Jeita Grotto and then Byblos to visit the ancient ruins, with a stop at the old por t for lunch. Following this, continue nor th for a hike through the small roads of Wadi Qannoubine. Definitely my preference is olive oil from Hasbaya, my husband’s hometown, and I am loyal [to it] because it is from our land.