I was watching the 2015 movie, Everest, with my family a while ago. We know Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first two people to successfully climb Mount Everest. Since then, many more professionals have made an attempt, several of them risking their lives even.
I wondered what is this human nature that dares to take such expeditions, what is this quest to conquer the most difficult, to fathom such victories. I only felt proud at the determination and perseverance of the human race at large.
When I went back to work, I realized that such feats are probably accomplished by ordinary looking humans, people like you and me. My colleague, Rohini Jella had just finished his 56th marathon. Yes, 56 marathons in 50 states in 9 years! He ran his Inaugural marathon in Alpharetta, GA on March 4, 2007. And the final State: Niagara Falls International Marathon (which ends on Canadian side of Niagara Falls) on October 25, 2015.
Sharing his experience on this phenomenal journey, in his own words:
We Do Great Things by Rohini Jella
56 Marathons and 50 States in 9 Years
My name is Rohini Jella. I am a resident of Peachtree Corners Circle in Norcross, Georgia. My running partner in life is Prashanthi, and we have two wonderful teens, Satya Jella and Nitya Jella.
I run because it takes me where I want to go in my thoughts. This activity sets my mind free from everyday work; and it gives me a new breath of energy. I never ended a run sad, disappointed, or stressed. What’s not there to love about running when you can clear the junk and trash box of your “mind mail”?
I will not lie that running a marathon is easy; it is grueling and tough. It tests your mind and body. There are times when, at every step, I had to reinforce the belief in myself and push myself to see the finish line, just to hear my kids’ voices filled with pride for their dad!
I joined the running group in Peachtree Corners through a friend. Not knowing the running tradition, or groups, I went and unknowingly put myself in the fast-paced group. Oh boy what a surprise it was for me regarding my fitness spectrum and my endurance, and that’s not mentioning what I felt from that one 4 mile run in every part of my body for next few days! After that run, I challenged myself to complete it pain free and keep up the pace with the group. My ongoing quest and goal grew after every run, and here I am today as a 50 stater!
I train with my wonderful running group friends at Peachtree Corners. We push one another and test our toughness. They are always with me when I need them for my very last kick to the finish line. We were adventurous in participating in a 36 hour, 208 mile relay in the Blue Ridge Mountains; we endured several back to back marathons (one time running a total of 52.4 miles in two states over a weekend); and often times, we trained at 3 am in the morning to ensure our families would not be disrupted. It is a great feeling to run with such determined friends.
My best training partners are my kids Satya and Nitya Jella. I often take short training runs with them, and my love of running grows more every day with every step I take with them. We share our day, resolve issues, discuss everything from their personal life to world politics and come home with one extra layer of bond between us! Who would not want to run for this experience?
Lastly, I read a post about myself on Facebook from my family that said, “I don't have to look far to know what true determination is, what it means to persevere, what true dedication can do, and how it feels to achieve a lifetime goal.” I echo this sentiment in reverse to my friends and family! This is what I consider a true gift from God looks like…and I am living it!
Congratulations Rohini, on this amazing win and a truly inspiring story. I believe you are the first Indian-American to hold this record. What a proud moment for your family and all of us. It re-establishes our faith in the power of human race, ordinary people doing extraordinary things. A true example that humans can achieve what they put their eyes on!