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Special To CNN: How Marathons Can Bring Peace By May El Khalil

May El Khalil is the founder and president of the Beirut Marathon Association. The Beirut Marathon is taking place next Sunday.

(CNN)The sports world was shaken this past year by violence at the Boston Marathon, reminding us of the fragility of peace no matter the place and time. However, marathons in the United States, and the world for that matter, rallied bouncing back as they defied fear through running.

The drive to keep moving forward is at the very heart of marathon running, and nothing is better than large-scale sports events when it comes to helping people to overcome insecurities and fears together.

Peace is an emotionally charged word. It is something that everyone wants, and it is so elusive to so many. I come from Lebanon, a country that has seen more than its share of conflict and war, but it is also a country that embraces life and peace.

Many underestimate the power of sports to create real change in society. But in Lebanon, we have seen how sports, and especially running, can have a positive impact on individuals and ultimately on communities and countries. [CNN]

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