THE people of Beirut used the city’s annual marathon to show their backing for Lebanon’s missing prime minister.

Saad Hariri, who has not returned since announcing his resignation in a televised announcement from Saudi Arabia more than a week ago, is a regular participant in the race.

There has been speculation that he is being held in Riyadh against his will. Reports suggest the Saudis felt he was not doing enough to keep in check the militant group Hezbollah, which they have accused of plotting against the kingdom.

At yesterday’s race, water bottles carrying the slogan “We are all waiting for you” were handed out to runners, along with caps and T-shirts that read “Running for you”.

On Twitter, people posted pictures from the event with hashtags that meant “Run for Saad” and “Saad’s coming back”.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun had urged participants to run for “the return of prime minister Saad Hariri to Lebanon”.

On Saturday, Aoun called on Saudi Arabia to clarify the reasons why Hariri has not returned home. “The obscurity regarding Hariri’s conditions makes anything he says or does not reflect truth,” he said.

Saudi Arabia has stepped up its rhetoric against Hezbollah and its backer Iran, accusing both of supporting the Houthi rebels in Yemen.