A Two-Way Street
Volunteers are an important part of the Achilles community and take on numerous roles, such as:
- Helping disabled runners become familiar and proficient with special equipment
- Participating in weekly or bi-weekly workouts
- Providing guidance and running advice during races and marathon
- Helping out with race-day logistics.
While their general role is to accompany disabled runners during the course of a workout or race, on any given day an Achilles volunteer will function as a member’s eyes, ears, guide, and motivator. But ask any Achilles volunteer why they do it, and you’ll hear the same answer, over and over: they get back as much as they give, and more.
"Walking as a Volunteer with Achilles makes you a better person. The first time I walked with a visually impaired athlete during the Achilles Marathon in Prospect Park, she was able to tell me about the areas we were walking by. The birds and the open fields. I had the vision but missed what she heard by walking with me. I have learned to take better notice of the beauty in everyday life. We learn that you can accomplish whatever you want, there are only abilities no disabilities in life you just have to take advantage of them." - Achilles Volunteer
How to Volunteer
To become an Achilles volunteer you must complete a volunteer application form. Download a pdf of the paper form below and fax or mail it to us.
42 West 38th Street
*NYC VOLUNTEERS! Please click here to find out about all the local Achilles workouts and events!
This form is a General Volunteer Form. It is NOT a valid application for the ING NYC Marathon.
VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH
Achilles has some of the most amazing volunteers, many of whom have been with us for years! We want to recognize them here every month. To nominate someone, please email Fiona.
This month, we highlight volunteer Gary Griffin, M.D.!
How and when did you first hear about Achilles?
I first heard about Achilles at the 2013 expo for the Hartford Marathon.
When did you first become a volunteer and what has that experience been like?
I became a guide in March 2015. One special memory was my first guiding assignment the same month. I was to guide a woman with pulmonary fibrosis for a 5K race. She needed an oxygen generator which she pulled behind her like a small suitcase. Just before the race it started to snow heavily. The generator could not get wet. She was disappointed thinking she would have to cancel. But, we managed to rig the generator on a shoulder harness which I carried. We trudged through the wet snow connected by eight feet of plastic nasal tubing while I held a large golf umbrella to keep the snow off the generator. We came in last, cold and wet, but she was so happy to participate and finish. Second, was spring 2016 guiding a nearly blind woman through a light rain for another 5K. Her sight was just enough to make out vague shapes and colors but she delighted in guessing the objects and scenes we were passing. She was generally right. Despite being soaked, she enjoyed the sound of the rain and the other natural sounds around us as it was a small race and we were well behind everyone else. At race end, there was a large puddle of water I couldn't figure out a way to navigate. So, she consented to letting me pick her up and carry her through. Despite the uncooperative weather, she too was happy to be there and be part of the event.
Describe one or two special memories being an Achilles volunteer.
I have spent most of my time with Achilles training and guiding Vinnie Ligiuro. He is a 57-year-old gentleman affected by spinocerebellar degeneration. He is paraplegic with some intention motor spasms as well as sight and hearing difficulties. A team of us trained him on a handcycle to the point that he is able to compete in half-marathons and is contemplating a possible full-marathon in 2017. He has come a long way and in the process emphasized to me that the important thing is the feeling of being able to be involved and being a part of something. The joy is knowing you put the effort in and tried.
Mention a little bit about your background.
I am a Connecticut resident living in the somewhat rural northwest corner. I am a partially retired physician (Radiologist) and have always enjoyed a variety of sports, particularly running. Over recent years, I have transitioned from running to predominantly speed walking due to back/spine issues. While this makes me slower, I have compensated by actually doing longer distances and typically average participating in about one half-marathon a month. In addition to Achilles, I volunteer a substantial portion of time to Hartford Marathon Foundation as course monitor or at the water station or parking or putting together race packets. I enjoy trying to put a smile on the faces of participants in these events.