annual awards

Alberto Arroyo Award

Alberto Arroyo was fondly referred to as the Mayor of Central Park. He claimed to be the first person to run around the Central Park Reservoir -- and when he died at the age of 94 in 2010 -- generations of runners had come to treasure the leathery-skinned gentleman with flowing white hair and distinctive mustache who could be always be found there. Walking along the reservoir, Alberto greeted runners with a wave that looked like a priest’s benediction. And on the benches near the clock tower at the south end of the reservoir, he would watch the newcomers and offer advice, tell stories, work on his tan, stand on his head, and give free foot massages to the ladies. He was a particularly New York institution who ran and walked with movie stars, office workers, tycoons, homeless people, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, for whom the reservoir is named.

In 1993, the reservoir track was in terrible condition and ultimately it required $100,000 to improve and maintain it. In order to save the track, a seven-day event was organized to raise the money and Alberto was responsible for generating close to the $100,000. Due to Alberto’s help and support, the reservoir was once again puddle-free. As he became older, Alberto continued to come to the reservoir. He would jog it slowly, walk it, navigate it with a “walker” and towards the end, one of his many friends would push him around in a wheelchair. 

His spirit and motivation became a part of Achilles and will continue to live on for many years to come. In honor and memory of our dear friend, each year we present an award to someone who participates with us at our NYC Chapter workouts and embodies the vitality of our devoted “Mayor”.

Recent Alberto Arroyo Award Winners

  • Antonio Martinez  | Irwin Ramirez |  Mauricio Blandino    
Arroyo Photo Collage High Res.jpg

Steven R. Fastenberg Award for Outstanding Achilles Kid

Every year, Achilles presents the Steven R. Fastenberg Award to an outstanding Achilles Kids member.  The award honors the memory of board member Alisa Fastenberg's husband Steven who sadly passed away in 1996 while running the marathon.  In presenting this award, every year we celebrate a special Achilles Kids member. 

Recent Steven R. Fastenberg Award Winners

  • Julian Kane
  • Noah Coopersmith
  • Malik Jabaar
  • Christine Dunne
  • Dylan Chatkewitz
  • Ryan Ng

Ted & Betsy Rogers Award

Ted Rogers was one of the founding board members of Achilles International. His wife Betsy Rogers founded the Central Park Conservancy. Together they have supported Achilles throughout the years, sponsoring this dinner and Achilles participation in the New York City Marathon. Ted was a frequent marathoner who ran more than 20 NY's competitively and as a volunteer guide. His favorite marathon was when he guided Achilles founding board chair Trisha Meili in her first competitive marathon post-rehabilitation and recovery.  

Recent Ted & Betsy Rogers Award Winners

  • Richard Bernstein, who had completed 17 NYC Marathons
  • Harold Vik, a deaf and blind athlete from Norway who has completed more than 20 NYC Marathons!
  • Bedir Yiyit of Achilles Norway

James Rooney Award for Outstanding National Volunteer

Jim Rooney was a long time Achilles athlete who was visually impaired. Jim appreciated and loved his Achilles guides for what these remarkable people enabled him to do. He would learn as much as he could about subjects he knew would be of interest to his guides, and in that way, was able to “give back”. He always brought out the best in them. Jim passed away in 2009. He is greatly missed, but his spirit lives on and every year his beloved wife Kyoko presents the James Rooney award for Outstanding Volunteer. Recent awardees include Michiro Suenaga and Judith Smith.  

Recent Jim Rooney Award Winners

  • Michiro Suenago
  • Judith Smith
  • Nicoletta Neranges