Rachem Baghdad

Baghdad was born on the 12th of May 1977 in Oran, Algeria. He was the second to last sibling in a family of five brothers and a sister whom were all into sports. Most of the siblings preferred European football, while he and his sister gravitated toward athletics.

He started athletics in school at the tender age of 10.
He also enjoyed playing soccer but he chose to pursue athletics because he excelled at it.

Baghdad’s journey is surprising, He is quite versatile, you can almost say that he’s had three different careers in athletics.

He first took his place early on as a steeplechase runner, but the moment where he really started to shine, was when he achieved the title of junior champion at the age of 16. He beat the 1500m Algerian record as a novice in 4:15 followed by the 2000m record in 5:48. He can still proudly say that theses records remained his for many years to come.
A few years later in 1996, he registered yet another national record for Algeria at the 3000m steeple in 8:41,79. That same year, he was named third best world junior performance, and ranked 10th at the world junior championship in Sydney, Australia.

He was well on his way to have a brilliant career in that field, but as luck would have it, he injured his back in 1997 while jumping and slipping on a hurdle. He was constrained to be at rest for several months. Once he returned to training, his back problems did not allow him to pursue Steeplechase so he had no other choice but to renounce to it.

Throughout the ups and downs of an athlete's journey, the once in a lifetime opportunity came knocking at his door when he was asked to become a member of Noureddine Morceli's pace maker team. Morceli still beaming from his gold medal in the 1500m at the Atlanta games in 1996, was looking to expand his team with talented additions in order to broaden his chances in future performances. For a few years, he followed the Olympic champion in many travels and training camps throughout the world using his talent in setting the pace in many national and international championships.

Being a pace maker requires particular qualities such as an expandable rhythm and the knowledge of the exact timing to step out.

The many training camps allowed him to keep running and improve his personal performances. All this craze set in motion his own need for speed.

By the year 2000, Morceli retired after the Sydney games, Baghdad’s previous back injury was healed but with this new experience under his belt, he decided to redirected his career toward road and cross-country running.

In 2003 he ran his first half marathon in Tunis and came in first place with a time of 1:07:54, it was a surprising and promising result.

In 2004, he was invited to the Montreal International marathon to be a pace maker. At that time it was already automn and in the midst of the month of Ramadan, nevertheless he ran a 30 km in 1:38, way better than he ever expected from himself.

And so began his journey in Canada, Baghdad made Montreal, Quebec his home because of the language, the multiculturalism and the warmth of its people.

Several years later, he is still running. Thru the years he perfected his 10k's & half marathons throughout Quebec & Ontario. He's been named Quebec's best road runner for several years in row and many articles have been written about his career and his performances.

His best performances to date are:

5km : 14:25
10km : 29:01
Half marathon : 1:05:38
30km : 1:35
Marathon : 2:24:34

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