Run Beyond Project
Empowering young people beyond the finish line
lululemon’s Here to Be partner, The Run Beyond Project, empowers young people to succeed beyond the finish line. Running is a mechanism through which we develop personal and social capabilities and create an opportunity for students to set challenging goals and work towards them, building resilience when things don’t go to plan. The Run Beyond program supports students as they attempt to complete a running goal or race they’re working towards that at the outset of the program, they often considered impossible.
Success isn’t just crossing the finish line, it’s just the beginning.
Meet Manar Al-Shibly, born in Iraq, raised in Syria, and migrated to Australia with her family in 2013 at the age of 11. We sat down with Manar to hear about her upbringing, involvement with Run Beyond, and life goals beyond the pavement.
lululemon: Please tell us about yourself Manar - what are your passions, interests, goals, life aspirations?
Manar Al-Shibly: Hi I’m Manar - I was born in Iraq and at the age of 4 my family and I moved to Syria in 2006 where we lived until moving to Australia in 2013. I’m currently studying Communications and International studies in Australia, majoring in Arabic and journalism. I am so passionate about my university field and am excited to see where my studies can make me in my career, particularly in broadcasting and reporting as I love being in front of the camera or working behind the scenes. I also like to stay active - running, walking, going to the gym. Doing physical activity helps me feel fit, healthy and accomplished.
lululemon: Do you have any specific career goals for when you complete your studies?
Manar Al-Shibly: Yes definitely, it’s extremely important for me to set goals and think about what I want to achieve. Right now, my goal is to finish university, but my ultimate goal is to work with a TV channel or within the radio industry. I also aspire to have the opportunity to work in Dubai - having come from a Middle Eastern background, being able to experience work in Dubai would give me the chance to see the differences between the English and Arabic world, and gain skills from experienced people who live in different environments.
lululemon: We’d love to hear more about your upbringing - what was it like for you growing up in the Middle East and then moving to Australia?
Manar Al-Shibly: Due to the war in Iraq, my family and I moved to Syria and decided to apply for a visa to come to Australia (which was approved after seven years). I had a really good childhood in Syria with lots of friends in my school. However being an Iraqi, I always struggled to feel a sense of belonging as I wasn’t ‘Syrian’ enough. I worked extra hard to feel seen and although I felt like I was living and speaking like a Syrian girl, my passport said otherwise. Everyone around me was amazing, but I always had voices in my head telling me otherwise. In mid-2013, once our visas were approved, we arrived in Sydney Australia - I was 11 years old at the time.
lululemon: Once you moved to Australia, how and why did you get involved with Run Beyond?
Manar Al-Shibly: I was introduced to the Run Beyond project in 2017 by my English teacher, after witnessing four girls from my High School get involved with the organisation and various running events. I thought it would be difficult for me personally to get involved with the Run Beyond project because I have asthma but my teacher encouraged me and told me it wouldn’t be a problem. She then started running with me, taught me to control my breathing and encouraged me to keep running. I joined the Run Beyond project to be more active, meet new people and try something new that’s out of my comfort zone.
lululemon: You mentioned you got involved with Run Beyond to challenge yourself and do something new - can you tell us more about this?
Manar Al-Shibly: I wanted to challenge myself because it isn’t something I’ve done before and now, I continuously challenge myself to beat my previous personal best and to see how far I can push myself. The first time training and running my first 3km, made me change my mindset completely; it felt like I was seeing a different side of myself and helped me to relax and disconnect from the real world. Running has also spurred my inner competitive self - I don’t need to compete with others running around me, but instead, competing against myself gives me the most significant reward.
lululemon: What have you learnt through the Run Beyond Project & running, that you are going to take with you in your life, beyond the pavement?
Manar Al-Shibly: Running has taught me to set goals for myself, be resilient and be determined to achieve these goals. In addition, training for a running event, opened my eyes to the fact that I should always follow through and finish what I started, which is a beneficial skill regardless of what I choose to do in life. Running taught me what it meant to believe in myself and that it is possible to achieve my goals if i put my mind to them. Most runners know that they must believe in themselves to complete a run or finish a specific race. It’s a sport that allows you to have udoubtable confidence and helps build determination. During my university assignments, I always imagine myself in a race, and the due date is my finish line. That way. I can tell myself to push through, and it will be over soon.
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