On Sunday, April 21- my birthday- I woke up with a whopping smile as flashbacks of the most awesome surprise birthday party came to mind. In my adamancy to celebrate my birthday this year, my dearest of friends chose to celebrate ME instead in the most remarkable way which touched my heart and soul. A culinary theme, the most genuine smiles and the warmest hugs were there to greet me. I felt blessed, grateful and extremely happy to have such special friends in my life. Hence, the enduring smile on the day of my birthday. What’s more, I was thrilled at the idea of spending the morning of my birthday running the 12 km Klirou-Atovrisi Challenge, organized by Dro.Me.A. Racing, in the picturesque village of Klirou! My dad joined in as a race marshal while my fellow runner and friend of heart, Maria, surprised me by coming along and dedicating this run to me. I couldn’t be a happier birthday girl! We started running through a 7km-hilly terrain, which was incredibly challenging, especially since I hadn’t done a lot of hill training in the previous weeks. Yet, the stunning scenery in the woods amidst pine trees and gorgeous wild flowers, coupled with the cool breeze and magnificent energy of fellow runners made it so enjoyable. The last 5kms were flat and I felt like I was on a fluffy cloud, in a tranquil yet elated state of being- physically, mentally and spiritually. A real bliss indeed… I completed the race and was greeted by two cyclist friends, and role models in fitness and wellness. They are both what I call ‘warriors of life’ as they have such a holistic approach to life which has inspired me for years. Many smiles and photos later, I finally exhaled and picked up the microphone, as there was more to this race, larger than my birthday… This race was supported by Fit to Inspire (FTI), an inspirational community spanning across different countries, that fosters fitness, wellbeing, friendship and laughter amongst women (and not only!) around the world, whatever shape they are in. Founded by Rebeca Plantier, a dear college friend who never ceases to inspire me, amaze me and impress me, FTI believes that fitness and wellbeing should be accessible to all women, no matter what their fitness level, and embraces the concept of inspiring one another and exercising together to achieve a healthier lifestyle. ‘How many people finished this race with a smile?’ my voice echoed while cheerful yeay’s followed. ‘And how many of you think that you have inspired at least one person today through your running or love for sports?’ I went on, only to hear even more cheers. ‘Stay tuned with FTI and connect with an international community of fellow runners, exchange health, fitness, dietary information, and inspiring stories!’ I wrapped up, while I made a mental toast to running and great friends who add a touch of spice to my life!