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With unorthodox planning, and training as sporadic as can be, not to mention a very moody knee, I have lined-up 3 European cities to conquer this spring - Rotterdam, Hamburg and Copenhagen.
Many sceptics did not hesitate to announce the end of Gretta’s career as a sprinter, following her 2009 knee injury and subsequent surgery. They discounted the passion, the will and the real stuff this champion has. Coming back after the common flu is not always easy, but after a serious injury it is an uphill battle all the way, with loads of doubt, pain, frustration and discouragement. It requires not only an iron determination and mental strength, but also biological talent.
Although, as you can imagine, the national team training camp has been an up-hill battle for me prior to the camp, during the camp, and after the camp, I have a big smile on my face, because I know that the great majority of the athletes rightfully appreciated the effort behind this project. At first glance, the sad episodes (withdrawals, ignored tests, counter-competitions....) suggest that the idea of having a national team is doomed to failure.
I don't agree!
Maxime... a great lesson of determination and humility to all of us
11 minutes in 21 days corresponds to 31seconds per day. This is how fast the Lebanese women's marathon record improved from 5-26th April. From 3:11:00 it was shaved by over 3 minutes by Marie El Amm in Rotterdam on April 5th, 2009 to 3:07:54. Twenty-one days later, on April 26th, it was blasted by Maria Pia Nehme in Zurich, by almost 8 minutes, to 3:00:01. Pia arrived 24th out of 841 participants. Congratulations, Pia for this stunning performance! But no time to relax - we are watching this riveting competition; don’t stay away from your running shoes too long!
Nesrine Njeim, married to Robert Leene, now lives in Holland and is making a comeback to running! Nesrine used to be one of the best middle distance runners in Lebanon about 10 years ago (running for Maristes Champville).
We met again, unexpectedly, in Kfardebian in August 2008, a few days before her wedding. Usually girls run to maintain their slim figures and get married! Not so Nesrine, a natural born runner. She was determined to come back to running immediately after her wedding. And she did. Since that time she has been in contact with me for training programs, and she has already ran 2 consecutive 10Ks in Holland in 44m and 42m15s.
2 runners, 2 different styles, 2 different generations...yet 1 objective: improve the women's national marathon record.
Over the coming few years we anticipate the spectacle of an exciting and merciless duel between Marie El Amm and Maria Pia Nehme, both seeking the marathon grail.
Marie, a confirmed master (44 years old) has already 4 marathon national records in her name, including the present national record established in Rotterdam on April 5th, 2009 (3:07:54). Maria Pia (28 years old), better known as Pia, has 2 marathon national records on her CV and is getting ready to break Marie's record on April 26th, 2009 in Zurich.