Spectators along the 26.2 mile (42.2 kilometer) course held signs reading 'Running for you'' and 'Waiting for you,' addressed to the prime minister, who participated in past races. Lebanese President Michel Aoun had encouraged runners to call on Hariri to return.
Runners compete in the Beirut Marathon, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017. Absent from the marathon this year is the outgoing PM Saad Hariri, a regular participant, who resigned from his post unexpectedly last week while in Saudi Arabia.
Hariri, a close Saudi ally, unexpectedly announced his resignation a week ago in a pre-recorded message broadcast on Saudi TV. Many Lebanese suspect he was placed under house arrest as part of a Saudi plan to wreck a coalition government he had formed with Hezbollah.
Saudi Arabia has stepped up its rhetoric against Hezbollah and its patron, Iran, in recent days.