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 Suzanne Loria!
How and when did you first hear about Achilles?
It was in early 1990s (yes, that long ago!) I moved to NYC after college and started running a bit with New York Road Runners and would see the Achilles folks practicing. I was impressed! I read Dick Traum’s book soon after that and thought his story and how he started Achilles was amazing.
When did you first become a volunteer?
In the mid-90’s. Then I got away from running for quite a while but came back to Achilles a year or so ago.
What has that experience been like for you?
It has been one of the most gratifying things I have had the opportunity of doing. It has deepened my feeling of connection to New York City, Central Park and running in general. It serves as a wonderful reminder that this is a great place to live with wonderful people all around us. I have met some of the most amazing people and have been impressed by the athletes and the guides—everyone has great stories of their accomplishments on the road and off. It is a humbling experience to be around such good-hearted, upbeat and inspiring people.
Describe one or two special memories being an Achilles volunteer.
I once ran with Dick Traum - listening to some of his stories was fantastic. Not only did he make me laugh the entire five miles but he was also very generous with his knowledge and spirit. He shared all kinds of stories of travels and adventures he had over the years. There are other experiences I’ve had running with people from all walks of life. Every time I hear someone’s story and the things they are able to accomplish, I am blown away.
Please name some athletes you have guided.
These days I usually run with Sarah Heller which is an absolute pleasure. In the past I have also had the privilege and pleasure of running with Eleanor Chapman, Evelyn Rodriguez, Alan Tyson, Ben Simmons, Raymond Murphy and a few other folks. Many of them are too fast for me now!
Is there anything you would like to bring to the public's attention about being a guide for Achilles?
I would love people to know that anyone can do this. I am not a great runner. I also had no experience working with people with disabilities. But if you have an ability to listen, an interest in bettering yourself and gaining a sense of gratitude while helping others - and want to enjoy life for an hour each week - you should try it!
As a volunteer you receive a lot more than you give! No matter what kind of week I have had, no matter how miserable the weather or how tired I am, if I get myself to the park for a Saturday morning Achilles workout I am guaranteed to leave in a much better mood. There are a lot of other running groups in the park, but as Sarah and I have said to each other several times, Achilles is the best!!
Mention a little about your own background.
I am originally from Hyde Park, NY, about 80 miles north of NYC. I’ve lived in the city since November 1991. I have worked in Human Resources (employee communications) for the last 13 years and just started a job with a new company (wish me luck!) I like knitting, crocheting, cooking, and reading. I am a vegan and married with 2 cats.
Anything else you might like to add?
I am thankful to Dick Traum, Kat, Calinda, Andy, Fiona, Ellie, and everyone else in the Achilles organization for making a great experience available to so many New Yorkers. I love the fact that I can “show up” when it works with my schedule. No one ever complains if I haven’t been around for a while. I am always greeted with smiles.