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

Lebanon Traveler - - INSIDER TIPS -

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.

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