Field(s) of expertise: 
Areas of Impact: 
Good Health and Well-being

Personal information

May Faysal El-Khalil

Contact information (Private)

+961 3 266055

Contact information (Work)

Beirut Marathon Association
+961 5 959262
961 3 030036

Community/Lebanon Impact

  • May El Khalil is the Founder and President of the Beirut Marathon Association which oversees the annual Beirut International Marathon. In 2018, the race and social movement attracted 48,605 runners from 109 countries.
  • Mrs. El Khalil has been recognized for her work nationally and internationally;
  • The assertion she made in her most powerful TED GLOBAL talk was that “peacemaking was not a sprint, but a marathon”, meaning that this kind of endeavor was a long race that requires commitment, endurance, and optimal belief in the ultimate goal.
  • In addition to her work at the Beirut Marathon Association, Mrs. El Khalil speaks at different Universities and organizations about the power of sport, perseverance, unity, and making the impossible dream of peace happen through running.
  • On the morning of October 19th 2003, Lebanon witnessed a unique event in its history and hosted its first international Marathon. It all began with a dream that May El Khalil had of bringing the running culture to Lebanon. After surviving a near fatal accident while running, May El Khalil began to actualize her dream: from her hospital bed she oversaw the emergence of the Beirut Marathon Association.
  • Armed with determination, unwavering resolve, and the help of her family, friends, and a dedicated team of supporters, May succeeded in establishing one of the most successful running events in the region, the Beirut International Marathon. Since the launching of that first race in 2003, the Association has grown and continued to thrive adding annual races, events, and activities that encouraged the growth of the running culture in the country. Today, the Beirut Marathon Association organizes the yearly Youth Race, Women's Race, Half Marathon and Beirut International Marathon. All this is accomplished with one goal in mind: to build the running community and culture across Lebanon with the message of peace and love.
  • AdditionallyThe BMA provides logistic help and offers its know-how to different organizations and communities around Lebanon and the Middle East who want to organize races of their own

Work history

Previous Professions: 
  • President, 2001 - present, Beirut Marathon Association.
  • President, 1997 - 2000, Lebanese Ladies Society.
  • Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International for 2010 

Major Achievements

Major achievements: 
  • Organized and managed 16 major international races , 2018.
  • Organized grassroots free running programs , 2014.
  • Organized and managed an annual women’s race since 2013.
Exhibitions, lectures & performances: 
  • Mrs. El Khalil spoke at the TED global conference in Edinburgh Scotland in 2013. There she shared the Beirut Marathon Association’s story with an international audience, and she explained how the event acts as an instrument of peace through sports. The assertion she made in her talk was that “peacemaking was not a sprint, but a marathon”, meaning that this kind of endeavor was a long race that requires commitment, endurance, and optimal belief in the ultimate goal. For May this optimum goal is peace and prosperity for her country, as she still runs her figurative Marathon towards that goal. To date May El Khalil’s TED talked has been viewed millions of time on the official TED Youtube channel.
  • In 2014, May El Khalil was invited as a speaker at the European Innovation Convention on March 10.
  • May El Khalil was present as a keynote speaker at the Global Risk Forum in Davos Switzerland on August 2016. Her speech at the international disaster Risk Conference highlighted the power of running as a peacemaking tool in Lebanon. She shed the light on the Beirut Marathon’s year round work and efforts in establishing programs that target all strata of the society.
  • A guest of Honor at the  SEAL foundation for their annual gala Dinner in New York


  • Honorary PHD from LAU- 2013
  • Received the National Order of the Cedar from PP Michel Sleiman, 2013
  • Honorary Doctorate from Cardiff Met university- 2018
  • keynote speaker at the Global Risk Forum in Davos Switzerland,  2016
  • Laureus Sport for Good Award (Abu Dhabi), 2011.
  • Power of Sport Award (Lausanne), 2011.
  • Woman of the Year Award from the Brazilian – Lebanese chamber of commerce & the Lebanese chamber of commerce, 2009.
  • Achievers award from the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International (Paul Harris Fellow), 2007.
  • Achievers Award from the Ministry of Tourism, 2007
  • She has been decorated by Lebanese President Michel Suleiman with the National Order of the Cedar, and has been granted appreciation awards from the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism,  and the Lebanese Ministry of Youth and Sport
  •  The Lebanese Franchise Association has chosen Mrs. El Khalil to be one of the four recipients of the “Appreciation Award”. On July 22, 2014 she received the Fair Play and peace award by the Premio Fair Play Mecenate committee in Arezzo, Italy.
  • On the occasion of Women’s day 2018, May El Khalil received an award by the Arab Women council. She was also appointed by the IAAF as a committee member of the gender leadership taskforce committee.
  • Decorated by the president of republic of Italy with the Order of the Star of Italy, 2022

Competences & Skills

Field(s) of Expertise: 
  • Managing a Non-Governmental Organization
  • Organizing Local, Regional, and International Races
  • Arabic
  • English