ATLANTA — Among the many people who will take part in this year’s AJC Peachtree Road Race is a group running to help people suffering from anxiety and depression.
Marianna Cruz’s 6.2-mile jaunt down Peachtree Street is part of her effort to put a time of stress in the distant past.
“I was experiencing anxiety, very bad anxiety,” says Cruz.
She started walking, then running. The anxiety ebbed away.
“It’s providing you that belief in yourself,” says Cruz. “I believe I can run another mile. I believe that I’m stronger. You’re building that trust in yourself.”
She will be part of the group taking part in this year’s Peachtree Road Race representing the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The foundation is one of nine non-profits chosen as charity partners for this year’s race.
A survey conducted last year found a growing number of people who had taken to exercise to relieve stress brought on by the pandemic. 78% of the people who’d taken up running said they felt more in control. 82% said it helped clear their minds.
Representatives of the Georgia Chapter of the Foundation for Suicide Prevention will run the Peachtree to raise awareness. They’ll also raise money that will be spent on education and research.
“We also supply support to those who have lost a loved one to suicide,” says Chris Owens of the Georgia Chapter. “In Georgia, we have Healing Conversations, and these are trained volunteers who visit.”
Marianna now volunteers for the foundation.
She insists she’s not a runner.
“I’ve been running close to six-and-a-half miles but, it’s been a whole process,” says Cruz.
The process will take her to her first Peachtree, miles from the days of anxiety and depression.