The Heroines

Mouhja "mimi" Mahmassani

is honored with a Brick from Ahmad and Tarek Mahmassani.

Mouhja "Mimi" Mahmassani is the wife of Omar Mahmassani and the mother of Ahmad and Tarek Mahmassani. She currently resides in Wichita and has done so since 1985 when she relocated with her family from Beirut, Lebanon.

Mimi has always played a very crucial role in her family's life. In the process of adjusting to midwestern life in the United States, she was able to provide her husband and two sons with the support that they needed to prosper in their new challenges. Mimi was and continues to be available to her family, particularly her sons who she treasures immensely. She was readily available to dispense her valuable advice to her sons in order to help guide them through life and still continues to do so. Mimi also took care of her family in a different manner. She always has and does make sure that they eat the right foods, are in good health, and are in the best of spirits.

Outside of home and family life, Mimi has another love, that of running. In 1991, she joined a health club in Wichita by the name of Health Strategies in order to exercise more. After being at this club for a couple of years, she had a very interesting conversation with an employee of the club. One day, as she was jogging on the treadmill, she asked one of the fitness specialists if it might be possible for her to run just one mile. The fitness specialist replied that she should not have any problems running even 2 or 3 miles. The employee even suggested that Mimi could join a running class at the club called "Training to Run." Mimi became interested in the idea and she decided to join the class. A few weeks later, she was running not just 1 or 2 miles, but 3-4 miles several days a week. From that point on, running became a hobby for Mimi.

Mimi, however, was not satisfied with just 3 or 4 miles She decided to take her running to the next level. So, she started running and training six days a week and eventually, with support from family and friends, she began to compete in several races in and around Wichita. As she competed in several races, she progressively got better and began to place in her age group in several races. Naturally, Mimi became well known in the running community in the Wichita area and has used this as a stepping stone to greater pastures.

Mimi now wanted to run in the king of races, the marathon. After a rigorous training schedule that lasted three and a half months, Mimi ran and finished the 1997 Dallas White Rock Marathon in four hours and fifty four minutes, well under her projected time and extremely well for a woman in her mid-late forties. In doing so, she became the first of the family to run a marathon, an amazing feat since she is the only woman in this immediate family. A year later, Mimi went on to run and finish the 1998 LaSalle Banks Chicago Marathon with her son Ahmad. And to top it off, Mimi has promised that she will run one marathon every year for the rest of her life.

Overall, what makes Mimi special is that she was able to balance her family life with her love of running. She has excelled at both and still continues to do so. We, her sons and husband, would like to acknowledge the important role that she has played in our lives. Her sons, having now both graduated from Wichita State University, would especially like to note that without her, they would have had a much tougher time in both college and life. That is why Mimi truly is a "Marathon Mom."

June 23, 1999