In early March, I had an opportunity to run the Publix Half Marathon alongside my eight closest friends. This incredible achievement was not only a personal victory for me, but it was also a testimony to the inspiring journey we all took together to get there. It all began in October 2022 when I completed my first half marathon. Gathering at a friend’s house for lunch, I casually mentioned that I had signed up for the 2023 Atlanta Publix Marathon and was already getting trained for it.
Curious about my experience, my friends started to wonder if they could do it too. I told them that each of us could, and that was enough to motivate ten of us to sign up for the race that day. We created a WhatsApp group and invited more friends from our neighborhood to join us. Before long, nineteen of us had committed to running the half marathon.
With just 112 days to the race and the winter season in full swing, the group was determined to stay on track with our training. We ran 3-4 times a week, and eventually, most of us had run the half marathon distance in training. On the race day, nine of us picked up our packets and prepared to take the challenging Atlanta course. Despite the hills, we all completed the race feeling proud of our hard work and dedication.
Our journey to the Publix Half Marathon was a testament to the importance of self-care. As we know, it all starts with the first step, and the rest follows from there. I am immensely proud of my friends Ram Doma, Mukthesh Saraf, Srinivas Medicherla, Santhosh Yellu, Balaji Peddireddy, Sivakumar Reddy Dodla, Sateesh Tatipalli, and Satish Srikakulapu for completing the race.
Together, we have shown that anything is possible when you have the right support and motivation. It is also a testimony to the power and influence of Sewa International’s SELF program.