September - October 2019 Newsletter

Above: Three cheers for Achilles Kids and their guides as they get ready to run the 2019 New Balance 5th Avenue Mile.

Above: Three cheers for Achilles Kids and their guides as they get ready to run the 2019 New Balance 5th Avenue Mile.

It’s that wonderful time of the year when the intense heat of the summer months gives way to the cooler temperatures that are ideal for running and training for upcoming races. We started out strong this fall with the New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile on September 8th. A whopping 39 Achilles Kids participated in this very exciting race! It was a perfect day – sunny and cool – as everyone raced down Fifth Avenue in their signature Achilles neon-yellow shirts. Everyone crossed the Finish Line!

Achilles is now gearing up for some great events including the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 13th; The Detroit Free Press Marathon October 20th, the Marine Corps Marathon October 27th and the biggest one of all, the TCS New York City Marathon on November 3rd.

Over 320 Achilles members are scheduled to participate in this year’s TCS New York City Marathon. They come from various chapters throughout the U.S. and around the world including Great Britain, France, Germany, Poland, Mongolia, Japan, South Africa and New Zealand. Special thanks to The Moody Endowment, presenting sponsor of Achilles Athletes with Disabilities in the TCS New York City Marathon. This year, we will welcome our largest Achilles Charity Team who are running and raising funds for our programs.

On September 22nd, Achilles New Jersey had their inaugural Hope & Possibility® Race including a virtual run for those who could not attend.

The fall also brings some exciting fun events such as our 2nd Annual Cocktail Party on October 30th. (Please see details below.)

Achilles International could not do any of this without the unwavering generosity of donors and steadfast support of fundraising partners, corporate sponsors and foundations.

We look forward to sharing this great season with you all.



Don't forget, if you shop at Amazon please shop at When you shop here, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice. Be sure to select Achilles! This can generate a lot of money if we can make it a simple habit for 10,000 people on our contacts + thousands of others in our personal social media contacts. Thank you!


Registration is now open for the 2nd Annual Achilles Fall Cocktail Party! This year's party will take place at Slate NY at 54 W 21st Street, 7-10pm on Wednesday, October 30th. Celebrate Achilles International with an evening of cocktails, stories from our incredible athletes, music and so much more! All proceeds will support the Achilles NYC Chapter, TriAchilles Program and Achilles Kids. Register Now!

Does your company want to be a sponsor? Please reach out to Beth Dindas. If you are an Achilles Athlete with a disability and would like to request special discounted pricing, please fill out this form to request a discount code.

Presented by Cigna

Hosted by Meghan McCain and Deborah Roberts
Keynote Speaker: Magic Johnson
Date: November 20th @ Cipriani South Street
Cocktails/Auction 6:30pm Dinner: 7:30pm
Tickets are $1,500 per person
Tables available @ $12,500, $25K, and $50K

For ticket purchases or table reservations, please email Genna Griffith or call 646.263.1825


More than 250 Achilles members and their guides including seven Achilles Freedom Team members crossed the finish line at the Medellin Half Marathon, 10K and 5K races on September 8th. Twenty recently wounded members of the Colombian Police joined Achilles Colombia and completed their first race. Several Achilles Colombia members were beneficiaries of prosthetic donations through the “Prosthetic Project.” This program allows an opportunity for Freedom Team members from the U.S. to donate any unused adaptive equipment, including prosthetics, to members of Achilles Colombia.

Thanks to Achilles Colombia, the U.S. Embassy in Colombia, the Colombian National Police, “Counter Narcotics,” Rural Security Police, and United for Colombia for sponsoring Achilles members and providing them with this opportunity to celebrate the Achilles mission and run in a mainstream event to show the world the unlimited possibilities that exist in all of us! Go Achilles Colombia!

Achilles Colombia


Achilles Mongolia held their annual Hope and Possibility® Event on September 14th which included a full marathon, half marathon, 10K, 5K and 3K races. TD Bank (Trade Development Bank of Mongolia) signed a three-year sponsorship contract. At the opening ceremony, Khaltmaagiin Battulga, President of Mongolia, honored the impact Achilles Mongolia, has had on the perception of disability and sports in Mongolia by improving lives and sponsoring 20 athletes with disabilities and their guides for the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon. Almost 2,000 people participated in the race and thousands of spectators cheered and celebrated the President’s call to work together to create a society fair to everyone, regardless of ability or disability.

Achilles Mongolia Hope & Possibility Run


Achilles South Florida is gearing up for their inaugural Freedom Coast Ride on December 7th with a 62-mile metric century or a 31-mile “out-and-back” bike course. This ride was created to bring together our wounded veterans, our disability community along with our cycling community for an all-inclusive ride for everyone. There will be SAG (Safety and Gear) support and four rest stops in both directions manned by our Boy Scouts, Benjamin Cardinal School, Jupiter HS and volunteers from our local community. NAM Knights Motorcycle VFW Club will be present on the road keeping the athletes safe along with local police officers. Participants will get to enjoy music as well as military helicopters and tanks from Project 425 at the Finish Line Festival in West Palm Beach. Steam Horse Brewery is our gracious host for our start and finish line block party.

We will also celebrate Pearl Harbor Day at Achilles 15th Annual "SPIRIT of AMERICA" Dinner Dance at the Beach Club in Palm Beach. This is a black-tie event honoring our veterans. Registration and more information is available for both events here. Or email Jacqui Kapinowski. Special discount for the dinner is available to those who participated in the Freedom Coast Ride.


Achilles Connecticut had a team of 18 athletes and 36 guides compete in the Faxon Law New Haven Road Race on Labor Day. Chapter President Erin Spaulding drove a team of seven athletes from Connecticut to the inaugural Achilles New Jersey Hope & Possibility® 4-miler in Englewood on September 22nd. Next up for Team Achilles CT is the Eversource Hartford Marathon, Half & 5K on October 12th. The CT Chapter is a gold-tier Official Charity for the sixth year in a row and will be welcoming athletes from the NYC Chapter to Bushnell Park.

Margaret Rorrio, Event Coordinator for Achilles CT, recently won the “That Deserves a Crown” Award, presented by the NE Patriots Foundation and Crown Royale at the September 22nd game against the Jets. Please click here for the full story and picture.

Achilles Connecticut


Achilles Kids participated in the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile race on Sunday, September 8th. It was a sea of yellow at the start line with 39 kids and 55 volunteers all dressed in the Achilles Kid’s neon shirts. They turned heads from the beginning to the end, garnering cheers throughout the race and snagging paces as quick as 5:58 for the mile. To date, this was the largest turnout of volunteers and kids. All around it was a wonderful event with beautiful weather and smiles to spare.

Achilles Kids at the New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile


Achilles Kids celebrated their amazing volunteers this weekend with a Volunteer Appreciation Workout. After completing their laps the kids and volunteers indulged in a wide variety of yummy treats, lively conversation, and lots of hugs! The kids would not be able to run in the park, participate in races, and have a blast at JCC without the dedicated and incredible guides who give up their Saturday mornings to volunteer! Thank you to each and every person who volunteers with Achilles, we couldn't do it without you. The photo (below) is parents getting ready to pass out the goodies to our volunteers and kids!

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On Saturday, September 14th, the Achilles Kids had a group of extra awesome volunteers! Back in August, an enthusiastic volunteer asked if she could bring some of her friends whom she knew would have a ball with our kids - of course, we said, 'Yes! The more, the merrier!' A few weeks later, and with much anticipation, we all gathered for the Achilles Kids Boot-Camp Fun Run at JCC. Each member of this new and delightful volunteer group is represented by Wilhelmina Models. They all showed up dressed for the boot-camp theme, ready to work out, and beaming with positive energy and open hearts - perfect for the Achilles Kids community. As always, Achilles thrives because of those who generously give of their time and their spirit. We are forever grateful to all who volunteer with Achilles Kids and look forward to many fun times together in the future!

Just a few of the amazing moments from the Achilles Kids Boot Camp workout with the awesome volunteers from Wilhelmina! ( Photos courtesy of James Farrell, )

Just a few of the amazing moments from the Achilles Kids Boot Camp workout with the awesome volunteers from Wilhelmina! (Photos courtesy of James Farrell,


On September 22nd, 2019 on a warm, bright and sunny day Achilles New Jersey held their first annual Hope & Possibility® Race in Englewood. It was a great success with 250 runners from Achilles New York, Brooklyn, Connecticut, Philadelphia, Queens and New Jersey including six dogs (three of them were guide dogs). Fifty runners joined via virtual race including the entire Achilles New Zealand chapter!

Mayor of Englewood, Michael Wildes, spoke at the event and helped with permits and emergency services. The City of Englewood pulled out all the stops in helping Achilles NJ with police service and all the important items needed to set up the race. Sincere thanks to guides (there were over 50!), Erin Spaulding, Director of Achilles Connecticut who mentored Joe Sorbanelli, Achilles NJ Director, through the process and Dr Joe Borchard, Director of Operations Achilles NJ, who led the race and helped make it the success it was.

Achilles NJ has come a long way and the best is yet to come. For more information check out their website.

Achilles NJ Hope & Possibility


A Fond Farewell: Bernie Tretta is succeeded in her post as president of Achilles Houston by Sagrario Baca. Bernie will continue to be active in oversight of the Athletes With Disabilities division of the Houston Marathon. We welcome Sagrario and thank Bernie for always being present for Achilles.

Dan Zolnikov will share the president post of Achilles Colorado with Amelia Dickerson. Dan has been a volunteer member of Achilles since July 2014 and served as treasurer for the past two years. He will retain his treasurer duties.

Roberta Oveson who founded Achilles Minnesota in 2017 will pass the reins to Randi Strunk and Leah Warden. The time, effort and passion that goes into cultivating a chapter is appreciated.

Planting Seeds: Achilles Las Vegas's John Sterling sparked a flame at the National Federation of the Blind Convention in July, and as a result, we are working with Lupita Hernandez and Kirsten Williams to start a Tucson, AZ chapter.


Volunteer/Guide Erica Shore has been kind enough to set up a special class at Flywheel NoHo to benefit Achilles International! Registration is $32 and all proceeds to go benefit Achilles! Flywheel is an intense 45-minute, interval-based class. You'll love it! Register now!


A great big thank you to Achilles Kids youngest fundraisers! Isla and Ethan raised $300 for Achilles Kids at their awesome lemonade stand this summer! Amazing!

Isla and Ethan's Lemonade Stand for Achilles Kids


Congratulations to Anthony Bonamassa who is Volunteer of the Month! Anthony joined Achilles in 2017 and has not stopped guiding and training/coaching our athletes since. Thank you so much, Anthony, for your amazing work and dedication to Achilles.

“…it’s more about the journey you take together when you have a huge goal to accomplish, than about one particular moment. For those I’ve trained for longer periods of time, the bond that’s created during the training is so much more memorable than the event itself. After it’s all over, the memories of all those miles logged, and the ensuing laughs, are what I remember the most.” – Anthony Bonamassa

To read more about Anthony, click HERE.

To nominate someone for Volunteer of the Month, please contact FIONA .

Anthony Bonnamasso Volunteer of the Month


Congratulations to David Law who is the Achilles Kids Volunteer of the Month. David joined Achilles Kids in December 2018 and because of his dedication, commitment (AND speed!) he quickly became a regular guide for several of our faster Achilles Kids members. Thank you David for making it possible for our kids to strive to reach ever higher (and faster!) goals! And by the way - Congratulations on a fantastic finish at the 2019 Berlin Marathon - 3:27:30! Way to go!

“After just a few runs, I saw how much the kids benefit from the workouts and how appreciative the parents and families are. Committing just a few hours a week yields so much for this amazing group of kids…” - David Law

To read more about David, click HERE.

To nominate someone for Volunteer of the Month, please contact Karen .

Achilles Kids Volunteer of the Month: David Law


October 27thAchilles @ Flywheel NoHo

October 30th – Achilles 2nd Annual Fall Cocktail Party

November 20th - Achilles 29th Annual Gala - Presented by Cigna. Save the Date!

Photo credits: many of our photos are courtesy of the great, talented, always helpful and very dedicated, Larry Sillen. Thank you, Larry!

July - August 2019 Newsletter

Ready, Set, Go! Achilles athletes and guides are pumped and ready to go at the 2019 Achilles Connecticut Hope & Possibility ®  presented by Cigna.

Ready, Set, Go! Achilles athletes and guides are pumped and ready to go at the 2019 Achilles Connecticut Hope & Possibility® presented by Cigna.

It’s a joy to work out in NYC’s Central Park, particularly on Saturday mornings. Typically, we have over 100 members running. There are Achilles Kids, the Triathlon team, our handcycle group and dozens of athletes with disabilities taking part in the chapter workout. What many people do not realize is that we have 30 chapters throughout the United States and 56 chapters around the world. Our biggest Hope & Possibility® race, this year presented by TD Bank, draws several thousand people to Central Park in late June. As our signature race, Hope & Possibility® is also run elsewhere. You could run the race in Connecticut or New Jersey or Nashville. You could compete in Germany, Poland, Russia, Norway, Japan, South Africa, even Mongolia! In September, Mongolia’s President Khaltmaagiin Battulga will guide an Achilles athlete in the race. Over 3,000 will be running with him in Ulaanbaatar.

Following Achilles New Jersey’s lead, NYC will work to expand Hope & Possibility® to include a virtual run. Yes, if you cannot be present, you can still participate! The dream is to have teams from at least 50 countries and over 100 locations participate. They will run, wheel or walk the distance in groups on courses designed by our chapters throughout the U.S. and around the world. 

Learn more about our national and international events on our website.

Thank you all for your support. Every donation helps keep us going.



Don't forget, if you shop at Amazon please shop at When you shop here, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice. Be sure to select Achilles! This can generate a lot of money if we can make it a simple habit for 10,000 people on our contacts + thousands of others in our personal social media contacts. Thank you!


In conjunction with our premium apparel partner Champion System, a worldwide leader in custom technical apparel, new pieces and Achilles classics are available for a limited time by clicking here.

At the end of August, Champion Systems will ship all orders. Please note that all items are custom-made and cannot be returned or exchanged. If you have any questions about ordering with Champion Systems, please contact Ben Woodbury.


It was a picture-perfect day in NYC’s Central Park on June 23rd! Broadway superstar Norm Lewis kicked off the 17th Annual Hope & Possibility® 4M by TD Bank with his glorious rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner. Over 5,000 people crossed the finish line including hundreds of Achilles athletes and NYRR members. Achilles Ambassador, Meghan McCain participated in the race with several of her coworkers from The View including ABC Correspondent Debra Roberts and her son Nick Roker. Today Show weatherman, Al Roker flew a red eye to be there for his wife and son at the finish line and proudly put their finisher medals on them. Achilles athlete Riley Sullivan gave a powerful performance of Go the Distance on the Bandshell Stage drawing a huge crowd for our finish festival raffle.

TD Bank painted the park green and took the race to new heights! A hospitality tent serving complimentary coffee, fruit, face painting, and towel giveaways made for a lively festival. TD Mascot was a huge hit at the kids races, high-fiving the kiddos at the finish line!

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The Achilles Freedom Team had a strong presence during the 17th Annual Hope & Possibility® by TD Bank weekend. We hosted 21 wounded, ill and injured servicemen and women and their caregivers; 12 active duty and veterans who are currently receiving care at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at Bethesda and nine Freedom Team alumni – including 92-year-old World War II Veteran and all-around rock star, Monty Montgomery! All were welcomed and generously hosted by the dedicated members and staff from the NYC’s historic Union League Club. It was an extra treat for the team to be escorted safely through the city streets by New York's finest with the NYPD's Highway 1 Unit throughout the weekend. Between a speedboat ride on the Hudson (everyone, ride The Beast this summer!), a profoundly moving visit to the 9/11 Museum, and tour of the sacred grounds at Memorial Park, the team enjoyed NYC hospitality all weekend long. Our heartfelt thanks to Achilles board member and Union League Club member, Sal Lifrieri, for rallying our ULC family and accommodating the Freedom Team so beautifully. Special thanks to our dear friends from ABC’s The View, who took on the racecourse with us and our Freedom Team sister, Meghan McCain. And of course, we are forever thankful for our loyal sponsors from the GM Military Discount, Yankee Bus, the staff from Walter Reed and our incredible volunteers, athletes and caregivers for making the Hope & Possibility weekend fun, memorable and inspiring!

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Achilles Connecticut hosted its 4th annual Hope & Possibility® 5K/10K/Walk/Kids Run presented by Cigna on Sunday, July 21st. More than 400 participants proved that the power of the human spirit was stronger than any heat wave! The Connecticut Chapter welcomed 12 guides from Cigna, including Cigna Connecticut President Wendy Sherry and Executives Brian Evanko and Jonathan Prokup. Joe and Ruth Sorbanelli from Achilles New Jersey, Jenny Hwang and John Pierre from Achilles Queens, Erin Williams and Rob Sanchas from Achilles Providence and Leo Manning and Jeremy Fucile from Boston all represented! Ellie Cox, Joe Traum, Josie Amico, and their daughter Isabella rounded out Team Achilles!

Jason Romero, motivational speaker and blind ultra-endurance athlete, was the Honored Guest of the Connecticut Hope & Possibility® weekend. He addressed a crowd of over 85 at a fundraiser the night before the race, spoke at the race start, and ran the 5K with fellow Achilles athletes and guides. The Connecticut chapter is grateful to Jason and the 25+ sponsors and donors who helped make the weekend events POSSIBLE. Visit their Facebook page to see a list of sponsors and photos from the amazing event.


Achilles Germany successfully hosted their 8th Hope & Possibility® Run on July 28th. The perfect weather, teams from Intel and Penny Parade, Achilles Kids, and chapter members all crossing the finish line made it an extraordinary day. Local politicians along with hundreds of runners joined the event for 2.5 km, 5 km and 10 km runs. The President and representatives of the Disabled Sports Federation from Bavaria, members of Bavarian Parliament and Ministry of Social Affairs expressed the importance of Achilles International and the annual Hope & Possibility event not just for the Achilles members with different abilities but for the whole local community. Congratulations to all! 

Many thanks to all the volunteers and guides who made the event possible. Also, a special thanks to Alexander Hentzshel, president of Achilles Germany for his work and dedication! #GoAchillesGermany!


The Achilles Freedom Team hosted 20 athletes in the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday, June 2nd. Big thanks to the wonderful staff at Balboa Naval Medical Center, DAV Industries and the DAV Charitable Service Trust, the Bank of America Military Affinity Group, Team ULTRA, the staff at IronMan, and our new friends at the legendary San Diego Zoo for making it such a fun and successful weekend. Freedom Team athlete, Jess Walton, took first place in the handcycle division and all finished strong. 


On June 12th at Gotham Comedy Club, we held our first Achilles Comedy Night! Regina DeCicco from The View emceed the event. Dick Traum had his stand-up debut wowing the audience with his epic jokes! Achilles Freedom Team athlete, Adam Keys also got a chance to show off his comedic chops! Roy Wood Jr. from The Daily Show with Trevor Noah was the headliner. JIM GAFFIGAN surprised us all by showing up unannounced giving us a hilarious set of his latest new material! Achilles athletes, volunteers and supporters were in the audience. Thank you to JR Havlan – Emmy Award winning writer from The Daily Show who helped produce this event. Thank you to our generous Achilles Board Members and Vice President Mary Bryant McCourt who sponsored tickets for several Achilles athletes giving them the gift of laughter!

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On July 21st, over 50 athletes, guides, and handlers from more than eight States around the U.S. gathered to race the NYC Triathlon. Due to extreme heat, the decision was made by NYC officials to cancel the event. Achilles collaborated with Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) and others in the ParaTri Community to hold a special alternate event at Tailwind Endurance located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Tailwind, a triathlon and cycling training studio hosted a relay ride for the entire physically challenged community. That, along with a post-ride brunch hosted by Achilles board member Rebecca Lindenbaum, brought the team closer together and provided those who weren’t able to race with a unique and memorable experience.

That same weekend, TriAchilles sent two athlete and guide teams to Long Beach California to compete at the USA Paratriathlon National Championships. These two teams raced against the best on the course proposed for the 2028 LA Olympics.

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To Benefit Achilles International

We are proud to partner once again with Arch Global Advisors for the Fourth Annual Day of Golf to Benefit Achilles International on Monday, September 23rd, at Anglebrook Golf Club in Lincolndale NY. The festivities kick off at 9:30 a.m. for breakfast and registration followed by an 11 a.m. Shotgun Start! Sponsorships available here. The day concludes with cocktails and a 5 p.m. dinner and awards ceremony featuring remarks by Achilles athletes. Join us for a day of golf and fun to benefit the New York City Chapter of Achilles International.


Please join us for Achilles New Jersey’s inaugural Hope & Possibility® Race on September 22nd. Achilles NJ would love to have Achilles athletes and guides come join them for a run/walk. Those who cannot make it, can take part in the virtual run. You will receive a shirt and a medal in the mail. Everyone is welcome. Bring a friend.


Congratulations to Jacky Lee who is Volunteer of the Month! Jackie joined Achilles as a guide in 2016 and has been a wonderful addition ever since. Aside from running and competing in ultra-trail events, Jackie is a Special Education Middle School Teacher and an artist. (Thank you so much, Jacky, for your love, support and everything you do for Achilles.)

To read more about Jacky, click HERE

To nominate someone for Volunteer of the Month, please contact FIONA


Congratulations to Lauren Lang & Adam Shelepak who together are the Achilles Kids Volunteers of the Month. Lauren and Adam joined Achilles Kids in January 2018 and right off the bat became a very special part of our community. Which makes it very bittersweet to have to wish them a fond farewell as they begin a new chapter in their lives in Washington, D.C. But we are so looking forward to having Lauren and Adam join us any time they are in NYC! (Thank you Adam & Lauren for your love, dedication and devotion!)

“Our experience with Achilles Kids has been inspiring and rewarding. The athletes, families, and other volunteers continually inspire us with the amazing community that Achilles has built. It's incredible watching our athletes achieve new goals whether it's an extra lap around the bridle path, a little bit farther in the gait trainer or another week of putting one foot in front of the other -- we always walk away each week in awe of this community.” - Lauren Lang & Adam Shelepak

To read more about Lauren & Adam, click HERE

To nominate someone for Volunteer of the Month, please contact Karen


September 22nd – Achilles New Jersey’s Inaugural Hope & Possibility® Event

September 23rd – Achilles Fourth Annual Arch Global Advisors Day of Golf

October 13th - 21st Annual Race For Rehab 5K, New York Medical College, Valhalla NY. Entry is free for all Achilles Athletes and Guides. 

Photo credits: many of our photos are courtesy of the great, talented, always helpful and very dedicated, Larry Sillen. Thank you, Larry!

May-June 2019 Newsletter

Above clockwise from Top Left: Cletis Mays and wife Vanina; Ivan Kaufman triumphantly heading to finish line; Sister Mary Gladys getting ready for another race.

Above clockwise from Top Left: Cletis Mays and wife Vanina; Ivan Kaufman triumphantly heading to finish line; Sister Mary Gladys getting ready for another race.

Message from the President

We had three losses this month. Our dear friend and Achilles member, Sister Mary Gladys Murphy, SSND, one of our first athletes, passed away on Sunday May 12th after having been in poor health for the past year. Sr. Mary Gladys was 87 years old and left behind quite a legacy as a teaching nun for the School of the Sacred Sisters of Notre Dame and as a prominent Achilles member since the beginning. Sr. Mary was very proud of her age and good health over the years. She used to brag that she outlived all her family members by over two decades. In her early years, she jogged/walked the New York City Marathon and eventually used a handcycle. She completed over twenty-five marathons and several Hope & Possibility® races. She was an inspiration to me and the many friends in her life. 

A second friend - Ivan Kaufman - passed away on May 8th. Ivan had been a member of Achilles for several years. He used to joke that he was a bit like the groundhog. Ivan would disappear from our workouts during the cold winter months and then reappear in the spring. We always knew summer was close when Ivan joined us again in Central Park. He was a joy to be around. I used to test some of my new material (jokes) on Ivan – he was kind and generous with his laughter. 

On May 21st, we heard the sad news that another Achilles friend and member, Cletis Mays, also passed away. Cletis, Ret. U.S.M.C. and Vietnam Veteran, was the 2014 Freedom Team Member of the Year. He encompassed all the qualities that would earn that title and more: supportive teammate, talented athlete, caring listener, cajoling buddy, positive spirit and made of pure grit. He named his handcycle, “Sadie Pain” - and after each finish line he would tell us if he liked her or if he was mad at her. Cletis delighted in bringing his wonderful wife and father-in-law to every race weekend and they were always a joy to be around. The family exudes an infectious spirit and no doubt that stems from Cletis. He was smart and honest and kind - and had an unforgettable voice that we can still hear. Cletis has impacted our Achilles family in a big way and he will stay in our hearts for all time - especially out on that racecourse.

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.” - Mitch Albom 

On Tuesday May 21st we walked in honor of Ivan during our regular Tuesday night workout. 

We will also honor Ivan, Sr. Mary Gladys and Cletis at our post-Hope & Possibility® race brunch. I will miss these great Achilles athletes.

The impact of these loses reminds me of the importance of the great friendships we form through Achilles – being part of Achilles is as much about the great bonds we form as it is about encouraging activity. It is as much a “social club” as it is a running club. This is something of which I am particularly proud. We have developed many wonderful relationships with runners, guides, sponsors and supporters over the years. This is how we help change lives.

When people ask me: “How do you motivate people?” “How do you get people going (to workouts)?” I tell them it’s the “group”. It’s the camaraderie and friendships. 

Our workouts become gatherings that are full of joy, humor, stimulation and exercise. Often, at the start of a workout or race event, members and guides spend the first few minutes hugging and catching up with each other. Checking in to see how their friends are doing. This is the “Achilles way”. This is also why so many of us show up on a Saturday morning workout! We truly appreciate the outpouring of warmth and friendship shared during each gathering.

Thank you to everyone for your continued love and support of Achilles.

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Don't forget, if you shop at Amazon please shop at When you shop here, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice. Be sure to select Achilles! This can generate a lot of money if we can make it a simple habit for 10,000 people on our contacts + thousands of others in our personal social media contacts. Thank you!


Join us on Wednesday June 12th for our First Achilles Comedy Night Fun-raiser!

Where: Gotham Comedy Club @ 7pm 

Headliner: Roy Wood Jr. - The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Tickets are $50 plus 2-drink minimum

Sponsor an Achilles Athlete tickets are $75 which includes 2 non-alcoholic drink tickets.

Purchase a ticket here today! 

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TD Bank and Achilles International are proud to announce the 17th Annual Achilles Hope & Possibility® 4M by TD Bank, the largest road race in the world for people with disabilities. The event is held in partnership with New York Road Runners and is a qualifying race. It will take place on Sunday, June 23rd at 8:30 a.m. in Central Park, New York.

"TD Bank and Achilles share a deep and abiding belief in enabling people of all abilities to achieve their full potential," John Pluhowski, Chief Communications Officer and Advice Council Chair for Individuals with Diverse Abilities at TD Bank. “We recognize that promoting inclusion is not only the right thing to do; it also supports a more robust, innovative and productive economy for all!”

This sponsorship grows out of TD’s longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion as embodied by its multi-year Ready Commitment, a social responsibility platform that aims to build vibrant and connected communities across its North American footprint, opening doors for people of all abilities and backgrounds to succeed with confidence in a changing world.

“As a loyal TD Bank client for over 15 years, Achilles values TD’s commitment to make banking more accessible to people with disabilities," said Dick Traum, Founder and CEO of Achilles International. "We are thrilled to have them sponsor this landmark event, which celebrates the extraordinary capabilities and resilience of the human spirit."


The tradition continues! After you've crossed the finish line in Central Park, received your well-earned medal and snapped pictures with your fellow team members, it's time to head to Dorrian's Red Hand for the annual Achilles Hope & Possibility® Post-Race Brunch Presented by Accessible Dispatch! Join us 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for a delicious brunch spread, a 50-50 raffle and special guest speakers. A donation is requested to help cover costs by buying a ticket online. Tickets will not be available at Dorrian's. We are proud to be partnering with Accessible Dispatch as our presenting sponsor for this year's event. Passengers can request an accessible taxi on-demand for pick-up anywhere in the five boroughs and pay the metered fare, with no extra fees. Book your trip by calling 646-599-9999 or 311 (NY Relay: 711), or by downloading the “Accessible Dispatch NYC” app.


The 123rd Boston Marathon weekend – April 13th-16th - was a huge success! Achilles International hosted 53 athletes for the weekend with New YorkConnecticutCharlotte-North CarolinaColorado, and France chapter athletes as well as 36 members of our Freedom Team. We are grateful for the tremendous support from our partners and supporters that helped to make the weekend extra special for the Achilles athletes, caregivers and families. A heartfelt thanks to the GM Military Discount, the title sponsor of the Freedom Team; Symmons IndustriesMassachusetts Fallen HeroesBoston Sword & TunaPWCSecurity Concepts, the Cohassett VFW PostBozzutosVeterans Assembled ElectronicBattle BarsMarc Fucarile, and Ed Friedrich. All gave generously making everyone feel like the red carpet was rolled out everywhere we went. 

We are especially thankful for the men and women who have supported the Freedom Team in Boston over the past 10 + years, making Boston one of the favorite race experiences of all! Yankee Line Inc., the Boston Red Sox, and the Boston Police Department and MBTA– year after year welcome and honor our team with such reverence and love. A big shout out to local volunteers who give of their time and unique resources to enhance the weekend from start to finish: Megan Thatford, Julie QuinnJeremy Fucile, and Joseph Kelley. We thank and adore all of you!

Once again, Freedom Team handcyclist, Tom Davis, came in first place and there was a first time win for female handcyclist, Devann Murphy!! It is always remarkable to witness Achilles athletes on that podium at the Boston Marathon Finish line – and to hear our National Anthem played. We don’t take the moment for granted and are incredibly honored to participate in this hallowed race. We cannot wait to return to Boston and appreciate all the inspiration and encouragement that everyone provides the athletes and families we serve!

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We can help! We have a few bibs left for the NYC Tri! If you would like a guaranteed entry to the event and want to support our awesome Tri Achilles team, please have a look at at or email for details. You'll get to train with an awesome crew, get great gear and an awesome race day experience in support of a wonderful program! 


We acquired a few extra Charity Bibs for the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon. If you are interested, please let us know immediately as they will go fast. For more details, click HERE. Email Fiona for more information.

Do something amazing. Guaranteed.


Picture-perfect conditions greeted over 25,000 participants on May 18th for the 2019 Popular Brooklyn Half. Among them were 17 incredible Achilles athletes who took advantage of the excellent weather to snag new personal records and celebrate post-run at the world-famous Coney Island Boardwalk! Chapter member Mauricio Blandino continued his amazing streak zipping his way to a 1:41:00 finish, which earned him local elite status for the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon! 

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On April 14th, two teams of Achilles Athletes made history at the Indoor Marathon Relay at the New Balance Armory in Upper Manhattan! In all, two teams of eight athletes with disabilities (along with their guides) competed against one another churning out lap after lap until a winner was crowned -- 211 laps per team in fact! In the end, Team Franny (led by Francesco Magisano) beat out Team Charles (led by Charles Catherine) by just a matter of minutes as both teams broke the 4-hour mark and celebrated with well-earned swag and pizza! 

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Achilles Arkansas has launched in Fayetteville under the care of Mary Dean, who brought Achilles with her after being a member of the NYC chapter for years. We welcome Arkansas to the Achilles family! 


Achilles Connecticut has a busy May and June with athletes and guides racing all over Connecticut and the Northeast! The Team ran The Bill Landers 5K in Glastonbury on May 11th, and then Susanne Cesana (with guides Aviva Elkayam and Mary Drake) represented the chapter in the Popular Brooklyn Half MarathonAchilles Providence athlete Rob Sanchas and guide Erin Williams crossed the border and joined Adam Fleisher at the Mystic Half Marathon and Stuart Sherman took on the Vermont City Marathon Memorial Day weekend!

Team Achilles Connecticut has 5 races in June—the Faxon Law Fairfield 5K, Hope in Motion 5K/10K, the UCONN Health Half Marathon, 10K and 5K, the Gaylord Gauntlet Obstacle 5K, and the Achilles Hope & Possibility® 4-miler at the end of the month! 

Reminder for other chapters to plan your summer destination race: Achilles CT’s 4th Annual Hope & Possibility® 5K/10K presented by Cigna on July 21st! If any athlete or volunteer would like to join us for the race, email to get our Achilles discount code! For more information on the event visit the web!

Above: Achilles Connecticut at the 2019 Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon. L - R. Aviva Elkayam (guide), Susanne Cesana, (VI athlete) and Mary Drake (guide)

Above: Achilles Connecticut at the 2019 Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon. L - R. Aviva Elkayam (guide), Susanne Cesana, (VI athlete) and Mary Drake (guide)


Achilles Nashville has had a busy few months with lots of races and places. Their biggest race this spring was the 2019 St. Jude Rock and Roll in Nashville on Saturday, April 27th. Achilles Nashville had 13 athletes participate in the 5k or half marathon, along with 24 guides. As if downtown wasn’t busy enough with 30,000+ for the marathon weekend, Nashville was also home to the NFL draft the same weekend. The finish at the Nissan Stadium gave everyone an up-close and personal look at the NFL draft and all the hoopla surrounding it! Nashville does it all so well! Other races the past few months included the Titans 5K, the Purity Dairy Dash (where both Lizzy Solomon and Matt Davis took home ice cream for a year awards!), the Red Bull Wings for Life Run, and Race Judicata. Nashville chapter is fortunate to be a beneficiary of the Race Judicata each year and everyone looks forward to the beautiful Greenway 5k/ 10k event put on by the Young Lawyer’s Division of the Nashville Bar Association. Achilles Nashville said goodbye to some of our favorite athletes and guides as they graduated from one of the local universities.

Achilles Nashville is also so grateful to the Community Foundation for the Big Payback 24-hour day of giving they organize each year for non-profit agencies. On May 2nd Achilles Nashville was able to raise approximately $10,260 through this program! Well done! Achilles Nashville's 6th Annual Hope & Possibility® 1-Miler and 5-Miler will be held on October 19th, 2019. Everyone is welcome!

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Annie Donnell was introduced to Achilles while working on her undergrad degree in Nashville. Upon graduation, she brought Achilles to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. The chapter meets in the Voyagers Room inside the Dennis and Judith Jones Visitor and Education Center in Forest Park.Congratulations, Annie! We welcome Achilles St. Louis to the family!



Achilles has an extensive international network, which includes 55 chapters in 31 countries. In addition, we have members in another 40 countries. Our newest chapter is in London, UK. All chapters hold weekly or bi-weekly workouts and participate in local and international races. Dedicated chapter leaders help promote these opportunities for people with disabilities in marginalized communities.


Achilles United Kingdom began on April 17th with their first workout in Hyde Park. It was inspired by William Trembath, who used to run as an Achilles guide in Central Park, and Chris Blackabee, who ran with Achilles the New York City Marathon in 2017. Colin Johnson, certified guide trainer joined the group. The Chapter holds workouts in Hyde Park on Wednesdays. Go Achilles UK!

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Achilles Mongolia is thrilled to launch its latest program "Achilles Travel". Its objective is to create employment and personal development for members while at the same time raising funds to support the chapter’s programs. We are excited to invite our members to travel with Achilles Travel Mongolia to experience the wonders of Mongolia while supporting the noble cause that is dear to our hearts. 

Other programs include the Ulaanbaatar chapter, Achilles Kids MongoliaSurvivors ProgramMarathon TourTrauma Hospital After Surgery Support Program, and Sunday Hiking Program. 

Go Achilles Mongolia!

For more information on our national and international chapters please check out our website

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We would like to share an exciting new opportunity for Achilles members! Through our dear friend and Achilles volunteer, Reshma Patel, we have learned that Anthony Evrard at Court 16 in Brooklyn has started the "Sound of Tennis Program" to teach visually impaired athletes how to play tennis. This is a FREE program for Achilles Athletes. Equipment provided


*The Sound of Tennis Program - Court 16 Brooklyn 

Every Wednesdays from 11AM to 1PM 

1 hour of fitness, 1 hour of Tennis

Equipment provided - no charges or fees to the Athletes. 

Contact Jane Montoya- JANE@COURT16.COM 

Phone: 718-875-5550 

*Sound of Tennis, offered exclusively at Court 16 Brooklyn, is a comprehensive tennis experience for visually impaired adults in the New York community. The holistic curriculum and program design utilizes adaptive equipment including sound foam balls and smaller, modified courts with tactile lines. Court 16's expertly trained coaches customize hour-long lessons for individuals with varied levels of visual impairment B1 through B5 (adhering to International Blind Tennis Association standards). The program also includes an off-court fitness regimen. The small group settings allow players to advance their skills progressively, fostering teamwork and strengthening self-esteem.

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Congratulations to Anna Rhea Lewandowski who is Volunteer of the Month! Anna joined Achilles in 2015 just as Achilles Brooklyn was starting. As manager of Jack Rabbit Store in Park Slope, Anna hosted Achilles Brooklyn’s Thursday night workouts. (Thank you, Anna, and Jack Rabbit stores for taking such good care of our members!)

“We can always use guides for all paces, all distances! You don’t need special training or background and you can come as frequently (or infrequently) as works for your schedule! As every athlete is different and has unique needs, guiding looks different for every athlete-guide pair. Half the fun is learning about what works for you and your athlete and seeing who you fit with best!” – Anna Rhea

To read more about Anna, click HERE

To nominate someone for Volunteer of the Month, please contact FIONA

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Congratulations to Courtney Hindle who is the Achilles Kids Volunteer of the Month! Courtney joined Achilles in 2016 and quickly became one of our “regulars”! Courtney’s enthusiasm and love for the kids is infectious, as you can see in the photos below. When she is not running with Achilles Kids, Courtney works in marketing for a children’s tv show. (Thank you, Courtney for your love, dedication and devotion!)

“This is the most welcoming group in the city. Get ready to be inspired, motivated, and moved by every kid, parent, organizer, and volunteer you meet!” – Courtney Hindle

To read more about Courtney, click HERE

To nominate someone for Volunteer of the Month, please contact Karen

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June 23rd– Achilles Hope & Possibility® Post-Race Brunch 

July 21st– NYC Tri

July 21st– Achilles Connecticut’s 4thAnnual Hope & Possibility®


June 2nd- Achilles Australia, Sydney chapter + Run 2 Cure

June 2nd- Achilles Peru + 10km Vila El Salvador race

June 3rd- Achilles New Zealand + Christchurch marathon

June 9th- Achilles Norway + Hope & Possibility® Race

June 15th- Achilles Canada + Toronto Waterfront 10K

June 22nd- Achilles Brazil, Rio de Janeiro marathon.

Achilles is in charge of AAWD

July 28th- Achilles Germany, Munich + Hope & Possibility® 

Photo credits: many of our photos are courtesy of the great, talented, always helpful and very dedicated, Larry SillenThank you, Larry!

March-April 2019 Newsletter

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A Message from our President

Volunteer Spotlight

“Achilles is not just about the running. It’s about inclusion, about having a source of support, about making the impossible possible, accepting people regardless of our differences- in fact we celebrate differences. As another runner said, ‘When I run, I feel free.’”
Irwin Ramirez, President, Achilles Washington DC

What a wonderful way to describe Achilles! This month I would like to dedicate my introductory note to our volunteers. We could not do what we do without the endless passion and selfless commitment of our volunteers who not only guide our athletes, but also lead chapters throughout the world.

Below is a great article written by Nina-Maria Potts, Director of Global News Coverage for Feature Story News and one of our DC Chapter volunteers. Nina’s article helps illustrate the unique bond between athletes and guides. She describes it in terms of “partnership” -- one that includes navigating hills, uneven terrain and potholes for the athlete and the challenges of measuring or describing obstacles and hurdles to a blind or visually impaired runner, “clearing a pathway” to ensure the athlete’s safety. Guides also help keep our athletes motivated with encouraging words -- even interesting stories and humor -- especially during a long run. Another equally valued dimension to being a guide, aside from the shared loved of running, is “the camaraderie, the friendships and an understanding that develops between us”.

Thank you, Nina, and everyone who helps make Achilles work.


Casting a Light on What It Means to be an Achilles Volunteer

By Nina-Maria Potts

That Washington is a runner’s city (with its impressive range of city trails) is no secret. That a growing group of competitive blind runners (and their guides) now regularly pound its streets, is less well known.

Twice a week, the group heads down to the National Mall, weaving its way through a mass of office workers and commuter traffic to get to the Reflecting Pool where they’ve been racking up the miles since August 2018. Their neon yellow Achilles shirts often attract the attention of other runners, who’ll stop and ask how to join. It’s always a moment of quiet pride: that we made it out there once again, whatever the odds. That sense of pride deepened when we crossed the Rock n’ Roll finishing line on March 9th. 

Achilles International’s D.C. Chapter saw an unprecedented turnout of about 50 athletes and their guides, according to Chapter President, Irwin Ramirez. “The course was more challenging than expected with rolling hills throughout,” he says, insisting that only made the experience more rewarding. Hills don’t worry Ramirez, who has finished seven marathons. He says overcoming them is part of the reward.

For guides though, hills can be tough to negotiate. It’s often hard to measure and describe how steep a hill is, or how far the athlete has left to go -- something sighted runners take for granted. Even more stressful are D.C.’s many potholes and uneven terrain. Visually-impaired runner Qudsiya Naqui, says that’s why having a guide team can make all the difference. “I had one person hold the tether and do the actual guiding, and two people who ran ahead to clear the path.”

Qudsiya suffers from progressive vision loss due to a congenital retinal condition, but has been running since she was eleven. Supported by Bryan Lam and first-time guide Heather Dougherty, Qudsiya set a personal best by 12 minutes at 2:06.

For Susanne Navas, the half-marathon marked her first race as a guide. She was nervous beforehand, partly because she knew it was so popular. Susanne wondered whether she should have driven the course ahead of time to get to know the route. The potholes were disconcerting, and she worried when her blind partner, Tori Kalinsky, began to experience knee trouble. An experienced athlete, Susanne has completed numerous half and full marathons, as well as two Ironman triathlons. Still, she says, the experience of crossing the finishing line with Tori, arms aloft, was an incredible feeling. “It was super fun! Being able to help Tori experience it, lending her my eyes for it, was an unforgettable experience.” For even the most experienced guides, offering mental support is as important as visual and verbal cues.

Ron Batcher accompanied Philip Ashley (who’s been running for more than 20 years) for the Rock n’ Roll half marathon. “We pushed Philip hard towards the end and wouldn’t let his mind tell his body to stop. Crossing the finish line was such a positive feeling knowing our team had helped him attain a personal record.” Philip has completed twelve half-marathons, four marathons and an Olympic triathlon. He lost his sight due to glaucoma at the age of eleven. He started at a sports camp for blind teenagers and has been running in earnest since his college days in Michigan. On moving to D.C. he started entering races, saying running relieves daily stresses, and allows him to talk about sport with sighted people.

Visually-impaired runner, Lori Pierce, committed early to the half-marathon. We had been training together for several months by the time we crossed the finishing line, with experienced guide, Patricia Chadwick, who christened us “the Badass Streakers”. Lori endured cramp and nausea towards the end of the race, but kept going with iron determination. Holding her hand as we crossed the finishing line was very emotional. I discovered that staying positive was half the battle -- it helped too that we were running alongside a guy who was a hardcore Caps fan and juggling three ice-hockey sticks as he ran.

It was the atmosphere among the runners and volunteers that made all the difference for first-time guide, Carlos Arismendi. “It was great to see how well prepared everyone was, the athleticism of all the runners, the commitment of other volunteers and just the culture of athletes with disabilities.” Supporters on the sidelines shouted “Go Achilles” as we made our way through Washington’s backstreets. One woman stopped to say she thought guides do an incredible job. Just as I was basking in the compliment, Lori nearly tripped because I’d failed to see a pothole. Lori was very forgiving.

DC’s Rock n’ Roll half-marathon course begins on the Mall and winds its way alongside the Potomac before turning up through the guts of Rock Creek Park. A steep hill gives way to the flat plank connecting Adams Morgan to Columbia Heights. The residents of brightly painted town houses offered beverages and cheers for those who were fading.

I wondered what Lori must be feeling as we neared mile eight, with five more to go. I realized too, how much I rely on mile markers to boost my morale. I shut my eyes briefly, as I’ve done on solo training runs to feel just a fraction of the sensation of running blind. It’s not for the faint-hearted.

Qudsiya Naqui says she doesn’t like to know where she is because it helps her psychologically to keep moving forward. “I asked my team to notify me at the 6-mile mark, the 10-mile mark, and the finish line. I definitely felt like I was hitting the wall around 10 miles. But everyone was so encouraging, I just gritted my teeth and kept moving.”

There’s another dimension to guiding, which I only realized after the race -- when we stood huddled together eating pizza. There’s the shared love of running; but there’s also the camaraderie, the friendships, and an understanding that develops between us.

That sense of mutual support lies at the heart of Achilles International, according to Irwin Ramirez. He started running as a teenager, but as his sight deteriorated, Irwin started to rely on guides. While at college in New York, he joined the Achilles Manhattan Chapter which enabled him to run the New York City Marathon in 2014. Irwin says Achilles is not just about the running. “It’s about inclusion, about having a source of support, about making the impossible possible, accepting people regardless of our differences- in fact we celebrate differences. As another runner said, “When I run, I feel free.”

The feeling of euphoria -- and freedom -- is familiar to all runners. The rock bands staggered along the course also helped.

That moment, at the finishing line, marked not just victory, but a unity of mission for our group: it’s been difficult to get a consistent, committed team of guides and runners together, because D.C.’s population is so transient. That’s according to Karla Gilbride, who’s been instrumental in reinvigorating Achilles in the nation’s capital. Karla has been blind her whole life and recently completed her first triathlon.

For anyone interested in becoming an Achilles D.C. guide, Karla has some useful pointers: “A good guide is someone who can react quickly to obstacles and unexpected things that happen along the course. That includes letting me know what’s coming up while staying calm (because nerves can be contagious). I also like hearing about interesting things we’re passing along the route, so an ability to describe the surroundings in colorful terms is definitely a plus. A sense of humor or interesting stories to tell is always appreciated, especially on long runs!”

Achilles International D.C. Chapter owes its existence to Irwin Ramirez and Karla Gilbride, who keep the group motivated, committed and organized.


Don’t Forget to Check out our Achilles E-Store!

In conjunction with our premium apparel partner Champion System, a worldwide leader in custom technical apparel, new pieces and Achilles classics are now available for purchase here.

Amazon Smile!

Don't forget, if you shop at Amazon please shop at When you shop here, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice. Be sure to select Achilles! This can generate a lot of money if we can make it a simple habit for the 10,000 people on our mailing list + thousands of others in our personal social media contacts. Thank you!


Achilles International is delighted to once again be part of the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon Charity Program. We have a limited number of guaranteed bibs. If you are interested in joining us to run and raise funds in support of adults and children with disabilities, please contact Fiona McKinney

For more details on being a Charity Entrant click HERE.

We would love to have you on our Team. #GoAchilles! #GoYou! #TCSNYCMarathon


The luck of the Irish was with Achilles on St. Patrick's Day as 40 Achilles athletes and 19 charity runners made their way over the Manhattan Bridge, through the heart of Times Square and to the finish line in Central Park at the United Airlines NYC Half. Among the finishers was Maximilian Lupa, running his first ever Half Marathon! He was accompanied by loyal Achilles guides Courtney Hindle and David Honick, who helped Maxi train through many cold winter runs leading up to race day. Happy and hungry runners and guides gathered after the race at Gabriela's on the Upper West Side with many showing off their well-earned medals and celebrating crushing 13.1 miles in the cold!

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Eliza Cooper and Francesco Magisano completed the first international race of the 2019 season at the CAM Tri Paratriathlon American Championships. Eliza finished with a time of 1:19:43, which is a FOUR-minute PR!!! This was Francesco’s second triathlon. He is now an internationally ranked triathlete with a time of 1:12:53. Eliza, Francesco and Charles Catherine plan to compete in three other international events this year as they try to qualify for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo Japan! We are so proud of them!


Once again, Achilles athletes, both civilian and Freedom Team (35 to be exact!) brought the sunshine to LA during the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon. It is worth noting that this race has always shown a strong vision of inclusion. All athletes with disabilities, be it military or civilian, runners with guides, handcycles, racing chairs, duos etc., are welcome and encouraged to persevere through those 26.2 miles and cross that finish line safely and proudly. Of course, there is always room to improve – but we are honored to work with the Go Conqur staff and appreciate their can-do/will-do attitudes!  Pre-race, athletes and families were hosted by the historically amazing Los Angeles Fire Department for an equipment tune-up and legendary Mexican feast.  We were also thrilled to partner with extended family from the Gary Sinise Foundation to ensure a smooth and successful race for the men and women that both our organizations work to serve.  Race day proved to be happy and satisfying for all participants!  We are extra proud to have hosted Freedom Team stud, Adam Popp, as he and guides David Sheehy and Drew Shackleton took on the course championing Popp to a PR!  A 3:29!  Pretty impressive – especially for a single-above-knee-amputee!  Endless thanks to LAFD’s Adam Walker, Captain (Ret.) Greg Malais, and Mark Carcamo for your dedication over the past 14 years.  Also, a giant thank you to our generous supporters from the DAV Charitable Trust and our title sponsors from the GM Military Discount.  Wonderful progress is being made because of all that you give!

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Achilles Connecticut came out of winter hibernation at the Bradley Road Race on March 30th, with 17 athletes and 22 guides participating! The race director, Windsor Locks Lions Club, included an article about Achilles in the race booklet. On April 15th, Manny Jimenez (Achilles Freedom Team member), Krys Zybowski and Harry McKinstry will represent the Connecticut Chapter in the Boston Marathon. While Krys and Manny are veteran racers, this will be Harry’s 1st time in Boston, qualifying in the mobility impaired division with a 5:01 marathon last October in the Eversource Hartford Marathon. Harry has been training outside all winter with guides Monte Wagner, Michelle Desmarais, and Jimena Dolzadelli to get ready for Heartbreak Hill. Also on April 28th, twenty-one Achilles Connecticut athletes will be heading to their first half marathon of the season--the Ion Bank Cheshire Half Marathon & 5K.

Achilles CT will be holding its 4th annual Hope & Possibility® 5K/10K on July 21st. All Chapters are welcome! If any athlete would like to join us for the race, email to get our Achilles discount code! Connecticut makes a great place to visit in the summer!

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The Achilles Ottawa Chapter is offering support and help to the Visually Impaired Community during Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 2019. Dates: May 24th – 26th 2019. Contact the chapter at to get on the list! The chapter is providing logistics support, a pre-race meal, a post-race massage, guide dog-sitting, secure storage, and a peaceful and friendly space to prepare and relax before and after the races. Thanks to a generous donation by TELUS, Achilles Ottawa will have a secure, indoor facility available for all runners that is only 1 km from the start line.

Achilles Ottawa volunteers will host a pasta dinner with potluck treats on Friday night, provide a calm and secure place to allow athletes to prepare and relax before and after the 5K and 10K Saturday races and before and after the Sunday half and full marathons Volunteers will also provide service dog sitters and help getting to and from the airport, train station, or bus station if needed. There is also a social gathering on Saturday night!

 This is a great time to meet out-of-towners and locals and the tremendously supportive Achilles Ottawa organization. Contact to get on the list.

VI details at
Main site at


Congratulations to Jessie Rix! Jessie grew up in Fergus Fall, MN and dreamt of one day running across the Brooklyn Bridge. Since joining Achilles in 2016, she has achieved that several times over and guided our athletes through several marathons and other races! In 2018 and continuing into 2019, Jessie became quite the media darling with some wonderful articles about her and Anthony Butler. Thank you, Jessie, for everything you do for Achilles. We are truly grateful!

“Being a guide for an Achilles athlete is a huge responsibility. It is sometimes challenging. But, it is also an incredibly rewarding and fun experience! …. Achilles is fun, informal and social. People of all abilities -- running or walking -- can participate!” – Jessie Rix

To read more about Jessie, please click HERE

To nominate someone as Volunteer of the Month, please email FIONA.

Jessie and Anthony in “Runner’s World” February 2019

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Congratulations to Angie Musco, Achilles Kids Volunteer of the Month. Angie joined Achilles in 2013 guiding one of our (adult) members, Joe Bellantoni in his – and her – first marathon. The Achilles Kids workouts in Central Park began a year later and Angie has not stopped since... guiding our Kids every weekend and now leading the program as Achilles Kids Central Park Program Coordinator. Angie is also an actor, writer, producer, and author. Her first children’s book The Face Behind the Mask, a biography about the first and only woman to play in the NHL, is due out in Fall 2020. Thank you Angie for everything you continue to do for Achilles Kids! 

“I love every time we have new kids who think (or their parents think) they “aren’t runners” and then the kids cross the finish line in waaaay less time than they had imagined! The look on their faces when they realize they did it, they made it around, they ran – they are runners – that’s priceless!” – Angie Musco

To read more about Angie, click HERE 

To nominate an Achilles Kids Volunteer of the Month, please contact Karen

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April 14: Indoor Marathon 10 am
May 3 to 5: Crystal Springs Paratriathlon Clinic
May 18: USA North East Regional / Got The Nerve Triathlon
June 9: Stafford Run for Hope Sprint - Tri, Duathlon and Aquathlon (swim, bike), Manahawkin, NJ
June 23: 17th Annual NYC Hope & Possibility® 4M
July 20: Para Nationals
July 21: New York City Triathlon (Olympic)

Scenes from the 2019 Miami Marathon

Scenes from the 2019 Miami Marathon

January-February 2019 Newsletter

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Above: NYC Chapter Director Michael Anderson, providing coaching and guidance to Achilles Athlete Eleanor Chapman.

A Message from our President

A few weeks ago, a new Achilles member asked a brilliant question which was particularly appropriate at the start of a New Year: “Do you have some tips for a beginner?” Well, yes! Let me share my response. First, please understand that you are joining us to run but also to become part of our family and enjoy our sport. There is a very large range of abilities represented... from world class runners to folks who can ambulate several blocks. There are handcycle athletes who can move at forty miles an hour and others who complete a mile in an hour. There are folks out to enjoy a walk and others preparing for the Paralympics.

So, given the diversity, think of walking, jogging, running or wheeling at a pace with which you are comfortable for perhaps thirty minutes. You are not out there to compete or to exercise till you drop. The idea is typically to move with the goal of being able to chat as you exercise. At the end of the workout, you should make two observations... first, “That was fun!” and second, “Look how much distance I covered”. Later on, “Look at how I have improved!”

As you progress, think of working out two or three times a week and keeping track of successes. Did I cover a greater distance? Did I go faster? Make sure to meet other members and our volunteers. This is a social sport. As the workouts become routine, consider participating in your first race. It should be a short one and an event in which other Achilles members compete. You have a goal!

Many of our members run marathons - a 26.2-mile distance. For beginners, it’s a goal that may be a year away and many shorter races in-between. Eleven months after being introduced to the sport, I completed my first five-mile race. It was one of my favorite experiences. Not knowing too much about the sport, it was necessary to walk a bit near the end. I worried, would I be disqualified for walking? It was only after my first 13.1 mile half marathon that I even considered doing a full marathon? Subsequently, the word and goal became a very big part of my life. Having a goal is a great motivator.

Another great motivator is the group, or “Micro-Community”. In my book, “The Courage to Go Forward” co-written with David Cordani, CEO of Cigna, the question was: “How could our thousands of athletes accomplish what many would consider the impossible?” The answer is, the group, or “Micro-Community”. Becoming a member and adopting its norms is perhaps the greatest motivator.

Finally, one more aspect of Achilles is Mainstreaming. We talk about this often and it is essential to our success. “Mainstreaming” means that Achilles members compete in races with able-bodied athletes. It has two very important consequences. Mainstreaming reduces the social distance. In addition, it illustrates that someone with a disability isn’t necessarily frail. It helps change lives and perceptions. It helps bring things “into everyday conversation”. This is something we are particularly proud of and have helped lead the way! We continue this goal – this mission – as we head into another year. Thank you all for your help in our success!

Happy New Year

Dick Traum

Don’t Forget to Check out our
Achilles E-Store!

In conjunction with our premium apparel partner Champion System, a worldwide leader in custom technical apparel, new pieces and Achilles classics are now available for purchase here.

Amazon Smile!

Don't forget, if you shop at Amazon please shop at When you shop here, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice. Be sure to select Achilles! This can generate a lot of money if we can make it a simple habit for the 10,000 people on our mailing list + thousands of others in our personal social media contacts. Thank you!


Thanks to the Cigna Foundation, Achilles had the honor and joy of participating in the Walt Disney World Marathon Week, presented by Cigna. Athletes represented Achilles from our Cigna-Achilles customer referral program, the Freedom Team, Achilles Phoenix and Achilles NYC. Most of the team took on the Half Marathon which travels through Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Everyone did well and some reached personal bests – thanks to their incredible guides from Cigna. Cigna CEO David Cordani ran as a guide for Freedom Team member Stefan LeRoy in the half marathon for the fourth year in a row! We are extremely grateful to David’s guidance and constant support of Achilles and the athletes we serve. Also of note, Freedom Team members Stefan LeRoy and Jarrid Collins tackled the Dopey Challenge – this is four races (5K, 10K, Half, Full), four days in a row. More like four nights in a row – with wake-up times starting at 2:30am! And Freedom Team Member Rick Weisbrod attacked that 5K, his first race running on his running blade since becoming an amputee - and he well exceeded his projected finish time! Well done, gentlemen!

In addition to the races, it was wonderful to bring some Freedom Team alumni back into the fold who now have children of their own. We are all growing up together in a sense – at every stage – and that is a beautiful thing! The bonding that takes place during these weekends is critical and in full bloom in places like Disney. We hope to be able to provide experiences like this to as many athletes as possible in the future. We witness the healing and are honored to be a part of it. 

Deepest thanks to the incredible crew at Shades of Green for their warmth and hospitality. Our crew would not be complete without Virginia RedmondRoy Griffith and many of our steadfast volunteers. Thanks to the wonderful Antoinette Darrow and John Hughes for helping make RunDisney operate with efficiency and heart. Thanks to all the Cigna guides who ensured that our athletes had a truly magical Disney experience. And most of all, thanks to the Cigna Foundation; without its support none of this would be possible.

2019 Disney Marathon - Part One
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On the weekend of January 20th, thirty-one Achilles athletes ran and rolled across the finish line at the Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Half Marathon. This is the 5th year the marathon has had a program for Athletes with Disabilities. Achilles has had a record number of participants every year. While there were plenty of Houstonians, Achilles NYC and the Achilles Freedom Team made a few cameo appearances too. There were PRs aplenty (go Mel Blume with a 44 minute PR and Harsh Bhasin with a 38 min PR!). Boston qualifications crushed (12 people qualified!). Way to show up and shine Achilles!!

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Nearly 100 festive Achilles athletes and guides descended upon Engineer's Gate in Central Park last December for our annual Achilles NYC Reindeer Romp. Runners and walkers were treated to unseasonably warm (and a bit rainy!) conditions as a gaggle of spirited chapter members donned reindeer gear and Santa Hats for the 4-mile trek through Central Park. Others were festooned in Christmas lights and there was even a penguin! Upon crossing the finish line, rompers were treated to hot cocoa, mini donuts and a few home-baked goods courtesy of our dedicated volunteers. A great way to close out 2018! 

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RESERVE YOUR SPOT! It’s that exciting time of the year again! We are preparing for the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon. If you do not get a spot in the drawing, don’t worry! We have a bib for you! Guaranteed. Check out details HERE and let us know if you would like a spot! “Charity Season” for the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon officially begins on February 27th! We would love to have you run with us and raise funds to support our programs. We sold out very fast last year.


The Lakin Challenge was a great success for end-of-year donations, being matched one-to-one up to $50,000. We hit our goal and more. Huge thanks to Robert Lakin, Neil Mellon and David Greenstein for their generosity giving us another opportunity to double donations to Achilles.


Achilles Freedom Team has been awarded a VA Adaptive Sports Grant. We will be focusing on introducing adaptive running and handcycling to NYC veterans who are wounded, injured, or ill with a goal of become members of our NYC Chapter. Free coaching and adaptive equipment will be provided. We are looking forward to launching clinics at the Manhattan VA and have added new handcycles to our fleet. If you are a veteran in the NYC area who is interested in joining Achilles, please email Janet Patton at Achilles. or call 212 354-0300. 


Achilles is proud to be partnering with the National Organization on Disability on their Look Closer campaign. The National Organization on Disability is looking for working Americans with disabilities to share their employment stories. The campaign is a national awareness effort intended to promote Americans with disabilities as a valuable and largely untapped talent pool, with the goal of creating more jobs for our country’s ~57 million people with disabilities. Please help by sharing! Your story is essential to showing that not only can people with disabilities work, they already are. The only requirement is that you are currently working or have worked and identify as a person with a disability. People working in any job type, in any industry, at any level, and with any disability (visible or hidden) are encouraged to participate. Stories will be published in their campaign story gallery and shared on social media. To submit your story online, click here.


Achilles International is incredibly thankful for the support from our newest partner, Accessible Dispatch -- a service that allows New Yorkers and visitors to access the city like never before! Accessible Dispatch gives New York City residents and visitors with disabilities greater access to wheelchair accessible taxis. Passengers can request an accessible taxi on-demand for pick-up anywhere in the five boroughs and pay the metered fare, with no extra fees. Visit, call 646-599-9999 or 311 (NY Relay: 711), or download the “Accessible Dispatch NYC” app to book your next trip. With Accessible Dispatch, you can access the city like never before! 

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We are pleased to announce our new Tri Team Director, Ben Green. Ben has been a volunteer with Achilles for nearly two years and has helped provide tremendous coaching, leadership and guiding during that time. Ben will be taking on the role of Director replacing Charles Catherine, who will remain as the Captain of the team as he shifts his focus towards his goal of making the Paralympic team for France at the 2020 Tokyo games. More info on the Tri Achilles team can be found here.


Wednesday, February 6 at 6:30pm
Marlene Meyerson JCC
, 334 Amsterdam Ave, New York NY

FREE Event - RSVP Required

Audio descriptions available. All Achilles athletes, guides, and friends are welcome to join us for a special movie night. Pizza will be served and audio description guides will be available upon request. Doors open at 6:30 and the movie screening will start at 7:15! Movie to be screened will be announced prior to the event!

ACHILLES 17TH ANNUAL HOPE & POSSIBILITY® RACE will be on Sunday June 23rd at 9am in Central Park. This is the largest race in the world that embraces people with disabilities. We hope to see you there!

ACHILLES 2019 ANNUAL GALA AND AUCTION will be on Wednesday, October 30th at the Union League Club


Congratulations to Bond Caldaro! Bond has been a volunteer with Achilles since 2009 and has completed marathons as well as triathlons with our members. She is also an avid hockey player and watches shows like Granchester and Poldark in her spare time (what spare time, you may well ask?). Thank you so much, Bond, for the amazing things you do for Achilles. We are truly grateful.

“You don’t need to be a fast runner to be a guide! You might not even need to be a runner. Some guides walk with athletes, others swim, others bike. You can even take on a new challenge yourself. I had never participated in a triathlon until Abbey invited me to join the Achilles Tri Team! ….. Achilles has offered me opportunities, experiences, and relationships that deeply enrich my life.” – Bond Caldaro

To read more about Bond, please click HERE

To nominate someone as Volunteer of the Month, please email FIONA.

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Achilles Boston has a new home! Saturday 10AM workouts are now meeting at Tracksmith's Trackhouse on Newbury Street in Back Bay. Tracksmith is an independent running apparel brand that celebrates running culture and fosters the personal pursuit of excellence. Tracksmith was founded in Massachusetts in 2014. Last year, they moved from Wellesley to Boston and established a permanent retail store that has become a community hub for runners. Achilles Boston is beyond thrilled to have their support! Please give Tracksmith a shout-out and follow on social media. Their handles are @TracksmithRunning on Instagram and Facebook, and @Tracksmith on Twitter. A quick "thank you" from our international family, reinforces our bonds in this community and shows our strength as a team.

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Every year for the past 4 years the Achilles Phoenix chapter participates in the 5k and 15k Hot Chocolate race in Scottsdale, Arizona. Nine Chapter Members ran the 5k and 16 members ran the 15k. There was lots of fun eating and drinking chocolate...and running!! 

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Above, L-R: Hot Chocolate 5k Scottsdale, Arizona Achilles Phoenix Chapter, December 2nd, 2018; Hot Chocolate 15k Scottsdale, Arizona


February 6th – Achilles Pizza & Movie Night - 6:30pm, Marlene Meyerson JCC 334 Amsterdam Ave, New York NY

RSVP required

February 16th – Achilles 4-Mile “Love Run” - 10 a.m. Central Park @ 90th Street Entrance. No registration required. Just show up!

November-December Newsletter

Achilles Freedom Team members Jess Walton and John Masson celebrating their NYC Marathon finish with Jon Stewart!

Achilles Freedom Team members Jess Walton and John Masson celebrating their NYC Marathon finish with Jon Stewart!


Sunday November 4th, marked the climax of our race season with the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon. We had over 200 athletes and 196 guides from around the world. Members from our international chapters included South Africa, New Zealand, Japan, Mongolia, Brazil, Ecuador, VenezuelaCanada, Germany, Switzerland, Poland and France. National chapters included Nashville, Philadelphia, Connecticut, Boston, North Carolina, as well as Brooklyn and Queens. We also had 30 Achilles Freedom Team of wounded veterans competing.

It was an incredible race and one of the nicest days, weather-wise, with many great finish times and PRs. Mauricio Blandino, in his early sixties and with a Traumatic Brain Injury, continued to show that age is just a number by running a PR of 3:45:26. Irwin Ramirez, a visually impaired athlete, PR’d in 3:41:00. Alan Kaufman proved to us that the Achilles spirit is definitely indomitable. He finished his 25th NYC Marathon! Alan was a guide for Achilles 13 times and this was his first marathon as an Achilles athlete after beating brain cancer.

Anthony Butler and Jessie Rix got quite a bit of media attention for their love story meeting through Achilles. Jessie guided Alison Lynch to a PR on Sunday. Marcin Grabinski from Poland finished in 2.51.56, Danny Bano from Ecuador finished in 2.57.50 and Zoro Baasai from Mongolia finished in 3.07.41, respectfully earning their 1st, 2nd and 3rd place as Achilles runners.

Congratulations to all our Achilles runners who crossed the finish line on this beautiful day. 

A special thanks to our Charity Runners who raised over $190,000 for our programs. We are beyond grateful for all the runners who wore the Achilles Purpose Charity Shirt with pride, raising funds and awareness. Thank you all! We truly hope you will join us again next year!

The TCS New York City Marathon has been a constant and ultimate goal for our members around the world during the past 35 years. There is something extra special about this marathon and it can only be experienced - To write about it doesn’t do it justice. So, we hope you’ll join us in 2019! Thank you to our partners at New York Road Runners, running guides, and family members for helping to make race day successful and enjoyable. Thank you to our major sponsors from The Moody Endowment and Michelob ULTRA. And most of all, thank you to our incredible athletes! You are remarkable, and we are so honored to be a part of your journey on and off the race course.

Happy Holidays!



In conjunction with our premium apparel partner Champion System, a worldwide leader in custom technical apparel, new pieces and Achilles classics are now available for purchase here.


Don't forget, if you shop at Amazon please shop at When you shop here, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice. Be sure to select Achilles! This can generate a lot of money if we can make it a simple habit for 10,000 people on our contacts + thousands of others in our personal social media contacts. Thank you!


'Tis the season to support Achilles! We are thrilled to once again celebrate the holiday season with the Lakin Challenge! Generously underwritten by Achilles board member David Greenstein along with Robert (“Bob”) LakinNeil Mellen and the Town Fair Tire Foundation, the Lakin challenge will match all donations specifically earmarked for this challenge through December 31st up to $50,000. Please note "Lakin Challenge" when making your donation and help athletes with disabilities have the opportunity to be active and achieve!


On November 1st at the historic Union League Club, Achilles celebrated our 28th Annual Gala honoring The Remarkable Women of Achilles. The event kicked off with a special rendition of Billy Joel's “New York State of Mind” by Grammy Award winning Jazz Artist, Diane Schuur. Diane has been blind since birth and taught herself piano by ear. 

We honored three remarkable women: Minda Dentler, received the Achilles Athlete of the Year Award. Minda started her racing journey with Achilles as a handcyclist in 2006. Despite being paralyzed after contracting Polio as a baby in India, Minda became the first female wheelchair athlete to complete the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii in 2013. She is now a mother, financial services professional, speaker and health advocate. Minda generated over 1 million views on her recent Ted Talk.

Meghan McCain, Co-host of The View and daughter of the late Senator John McCain received the Achilles Ambassador of the Year Award. Meghan has been a longtime supporter of the Achilles Freedom Team and has talked about Achilles on her show numerous times. (See Meghan’s amazing tribute to the Freedom Team on The View, below.)

Tyrrell Schmidt, TD Bank executive and Achilles Board member received the Achilles Volunteer of the Year Award. Tyrrell is an active volunteer with the Philadelphia and Toronto chapters and has guided numerous Achilles athletes in races in North America.

In addition, we presented Trisha Meili with a special award commemorating 25 years since she became Founding Board Chair of Achilles. She became involved with Achilles during her rehabilitation from a brutal beating and rape in 1989. Trisha is also the Founder of the Achilles Hope & Possibility Race® named after her best-selling memoir: “I am the Central Park Jogger: A story of Hope and Possibility”.

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We thank the following sponsors for making this event a success!

The Moody Endowment ● Michelob Ultra ● Cigna ● GM Military Discount.


We don't call it "Marathon Month" for nothin!! The Achilles Marathon Tour was in full swing from October 5th through November 4th. Highlighting the Achilles Freedom Team, the Marathon Tour sponsored nearly 300 members to compete, achieve and cross finish lines in 4 marathons in 4 cities in 5 weeks! Athletes conquered The Bank of America Chicago Marathon, The Detroit Free Press Marathon, The Marine Corps Marathon and the TCS New York City Marathon! Heartfelt thanks to GM Military Discount and the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers, Bank of America's MSAG and DAG groups, the Union League Club of NYC, DAV Charitable Service Trust, the NYPD, and all our generous supporters of the Achilles Freedom Team for your continuous backing of our program and the athletes we serve.
Check out Achilles in the news.

Please enjoy this slideshow culminating the Achilles Freedom Team this past month.

Above: Achilles Freedom Team at the 2018 Chicago Marathon

Above: Achilles Freedom Team at the 2018 Chicago Marathon

Above: Magical moments from the Detroit Marathon Weekend

Above: Magical moments from the Detroit Marathon Weekend

Above: Memorable moments from the Marine Corps Marathon!

Above: Memorable moments from the Marine Corps Marathon!

Above: The NYC Marathon is the “grand finale” to a month of marathons!

Above: The NYC Marathon is the “grand finale” to a month of marathons!


As a tribute to the late Senator John McCain, Adam Keys, Nick Koulchar, Jess Walton, and Earl Granville competed in the TCS New York City Marathon in his honor. Meghan McCain was so touched by this, she talked about it on ABC's The View! Click here for the clip.

Newsweek also did a beautiful piece about this special tribute.

In addition, Mass Mutual produced a powerful social media piece highlighting Achilles Freedom Team athlete, Rob Sanchas and his journey to the TCS New York City Marathon. Check it out!


At our annual pre-NYC Marathon Awards Dinner, on Friday November 1st, The Stephen R. Fastenberg Award for Outstanding Achilles Kids member went to Charlotte Mittman. The James Rooney Award for Outstanding Guide went to Sarah Hart of the Achilles Nashville Chapter. the Ted & Betsy Rogers Award went to Peter Loft of the Achilles New Zealand Chapter, the Alberto Arroyo Award went to Ricardo Corral, and two new awards were named for new Achilles sponsors: the Michelob ULTRA Outstanding Achilles Male Athlete of the Year went to Marcus Chischilly of Achilles Freedom Team and the Moody Endowment Award for Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year went to Sarah Heller of Achilles NYC Chapter. The GM Military Discount Achilles Freedom Team Member of The Year award was presented to Stefan LeRoy by board member and guide, Mark Degnan in Detroit after the Half Marathon on October 21st. Zoro Baasai from Achilles Mongolia received the Achilles International Special Award.


Achilles Las Vegas is celebrating its first anniversary on November 30th! To cap off their first year, Achilles athletes and guides ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Vegas races. Pedro Navarro and Ja’nesha Murphy ran the 10k and Terri Rupp ran her first marathon! Terri rocked her custom Team Ultra jersey during the race! And they got some pre-race publicity. Check out their interviews here… And here!

“Thanks so much to Team Michelob Ultra for sponsoring our athletes and guides.”
Achilles Las Vegas

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“First a HUGE thank you to Achilles NY for hosting such a great New York City Marathon race weekend.” Achilles Nashville was proud to be a part of such a wonderful event and to spend time with athletes and guides from around the world. The chapter would like to recognize the outstanding athletes and guides who participated, including: Matt Davis (wheelchair athlete) who completed his 71st marathon in New York and is off to the Oita Wheelchair Marathon in Japan. Tony Grossi also completed his 71st marathon in New York. Tony had outstanding guides with him: Beth Gottlieb, who is also a percussionist, actually played at Carnegie Hall the night before the marathon; Also, Olaf Wasterknack who, a few weeks before NY, ran 155 miles in 33 hours over the Greek mountains from Athens to Sparta, (in weather that made Boston look good!) This was part of an elite US running team. Dwaine Jones who has been an Achilles athlete for six years completed his first marathon in NY and finished strong with the help of his two amazing guides: Sarah Hart, (below left), who received the James Rooney Award for outstanding guide of the year. Sarah is Achilles Nashville’s founder and long-time leader; Randy Hodge who has put in massive amounts of hours training on Wednesdays and Saturdays with Dwaine over the months leading up to the marathon. It was an amazing showing from Team Nashville.

While many of Achilles Nashville were in New York, Chassity Choate ran the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon with Allison Brooks guiding. Meanwhile, back in Nashville Amy Saffell ran with Ginger Roelle and Rachel Boehrer in the Harvest Half. Coming up in a few weeks, Achilles Nashville looks forward to a road trip to Memphis, TN with 10 athletes and 13 guides for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon, where folks will participate in either a 5k, 10k, half marathon, or full marathon.

The Passing of Mike Moberg. Recently, Mike Moberg, (below right), an Achilles Nashville athlete passed. Mike was an original member of Achilles Nashville and often seen riding the orange Achilles handcycle on the Greenways and neighborhoods during practices. Achilles was a very positive part of Mike’s life after an injury and rehab several years ago which helped him on the road to fitness and good health. He will be missed.

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Did you miss the deadline to enter the drawing for the 2019 United Airlines NYC Half? Or perhaps you weren’t one of the lucky ones in the drawing? We can help! By fundraising for Achilles International, you’ll get a guaranteed entry into the race, a chance to strut your stuff through Times Square and show off the newest medal for your collection -- all while helping a great cause! The minimum fundraising is $1000, which may sound a bit daunting at first -- but once you share stories of our inspiring Athletes and their accomplishments, you’ll be well on the way to your goal… And the finish line in Central Park! Your entry package includes: The official Achilles International racing jersey, the opportunity to join us at our twice-weekly group workouts in Central Park with Achilles NYC and a chance to trek from Grand Army Plaza to Central Park for the experience of a lifetime! For more information, email Michael with 2019 NYC Charity Entrant in the subject line.

For more details click here.


Consider Achilles as your “go-to” charity in 2019!! Official registration for the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon begins on March 1st. Run and raise funds for Achilles during the marathon. If you would like us to hold a guaranteed bib for you ahead of time, please contact Fiona.


Congratulations to Joe Sorbanielli who is Volunteer of the Month. Joe is one of those amazing people who exemplifies all that Achilles represents. Joe is Fire Captain with the City of Englewood Fire Department, a World Trade Center 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina Responder. He is also an amazing, dedicated guide to our athletes and in 2017, he helped revive the Achilles New Jersey Chapter. Thank you, Joe, for everything you do for Achilles.

“During the 2015 marathon, I noticed the athletes and guides bright safety green shirts that read “Achilles”. Later I asked my friend, David Goldman, who has been a guide in the past, and when he explained the Achilles’ mission, I thought, “these must be the world’s most amazing people.” Now, I know that to be true.” - Joe Sorbanelli

To read more about Joe, please click HERE

To nominate someone as Volunteer of the Month, please email FIONA.

Volunteer of the month Joe Sorbanelli guiding Jenny Hwang; Running with the ULTIMATE running machine John Pierre; Joe and group proudly showing off their medals

Volunteer of the month Joe Sorbanelli guiding Jenny Hwang; Running with the ULTIMATE running machine John Pierre; Joe and group proudly showing off their medals

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Above: Team Achilles Connecticut has been busy! They were out in force at the 2018 Eversource Hartford Marathon on October 13th. Achilles Chapter athletes Cathy Beaudoin, Candice Caesar, Peter Gagliardo, and Maria Bournias!

On November 4th, Team Achilles CT wrapped their race season at a 5K in Hartford, the CT Trial Firm Race to Fill the Pantry 5K.

Above:    Happy NYC Marathon Finishers    (L to R): Eric Strong of Achilles Charlotte with guide; Harry McKinstry of Achilles CT with Ellie, and George Pacacha flanked by guides Michelle Fargnoli and Philip Asaro.

Above: Happy NYC Marathon Finishers (L to R): Eric Strong of Achilles Charlotte with guide; Harry McKinstry of Achilles CT with Ellie, and George Pacacha flanked by guides Michelle Fargnoli and Philip Asaro.

Clockwise from Top Left: Stefan LeRoy represents Achilles South Florida at the 2018 Turkey Trot; Achilles Brazil at the NYC Marathon; Achilles Mongolia at the Friday Night Awards Dinner.

Clockwise from Top Left: Stefan LeRoy represents Achilles South Florida at the 2018 Turkey Trot; Achilles Brazil at the NYC Marathon; Achilles Mongolia at the Friday Night Awards Dinner.

September-October Newsletter

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Recently finished writing a book, The Courage to Go Forward with David Cordani, CEO and President of Cigna. It permitted me to reflect back over thirty-five years. Achilles has helped make the world a little better for people with disabilities. Let me explain how, by describing some of our major programs. They are first, a large network of national and especially international chapters; second our Freedom Team of wounded, ill and injured veterans; third, the Hope & Possibility® races; fourth, Achilles Kids; and fifth, the Marathon Tour.

We currently have 29 Achilles chapters throughout the United States ranging from New York to California and Texas to Minnesota. Our first and largest is in New York City. It has multiple groups and several programs. One, for example, with Rusk Institute, part of NYU Medical Center, focuses on people with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). There is some evidence that if you have a TBI, running may improve cognitive and social skills. This requires additional study. We also have three wheelchair basketball teams. There is a tennis program and a Kayak race sponsored by Achilles. In addition, there is a program with the Friedman Diabetes foundation in which we focus on walking, jogging and running as a method of treating diabetes. Finally, we have a very large Triathlon Team including many Ironman competitors. Our members typically enter one mainstream race a month.

Achilles International has teams in forty-one countries and presence in over seventy. A few of our largest chapters are in Canada, New Zealand, Germany, Brazil, South Africa, Mongolia and Japan. In several countries we are a leading force in the disability community. Tokyo has over four hundred visually impaired members. New Zealand has chapters in nine cities and Mongolia is responsible for a very successful Hope & Possibility® race with 3300 participants. In a number of countries, we are at the forefront of mainstreaming the disabled population. Our first research project was conducted in Norway and illustrated that if you have Cystic Fibrosis and run, your life expectancy increases.

Our Freedom Team began in 2004 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan were introduced to competing in marathons with a handcycle. It is a profound success. While undergoing surgery and rehabilitation, they are participating in mainstream running events. A favorite quote by a member, “Sir, may I postpone the surgery by a week so that I can compete in the Boston Marathon?” Several hundred wounded veterans have competed in marathons. Many, including double amputees, have used artificial legs to run. Not only has it helped them improve physically, but it has introduced goal-setting, competition, and achievement into their lives. Several are currently world class athletes and Paralympic competitors.

The Hope & Possibility® race, introduced in 2003 focuses on integrating able-bodied and disabled athletes competing together. This event provides several categories and prizes for people with disabilities. Amputees, for example, compete with others for prizes. The idea is to encourage mainstreaming. Our largest H&P is in New York where the race is sold out and includes several hundred disabled competitors. There are H&P races throughout the United States and internationally. We compete in Munich, Germany; St. Petersburg, Russia; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia or more easily, in Nashville, TN. The race was named after board member Trisha Meili’s book, “I am the Central Park Jogger: A Story of Hope and Possibility”. 

Achilles Kids includes our largest population. Over 11,000 disabled children run, typically in adaptive programs in 350 schools throughout 21 states. Each child receives a customized map of their city, borough or location with a 26.2-mile course outlined. It’s a virtual marathon that the students complete by running/walking laps each week. The children, with their teachers, track the mileage on their maps. The goal, during the school year, is to complete the distance. Awards include a T-Shirt, certificates, a silicone bracelet, half marathon and marathon medals. We recently completed a study at five schools with the support of the Cigna Foundation which showed that for children who are on the autism spectrum and run, there is significant improvement physically, socially and cognitively.

The Marathon Tour is a series of twelve marathons throughout the United States in which we field teams from twenty-five to three hundred disabled members. It begins in the fall with Chicago, Detroit, Marine Corps, New York and continues through Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach and Boston including others. Our biggest is the NYC Marathon. This year over three hundred Achilles members including almost one hundred in handcycles and wheelchairs will compete. They will represent 32 countries and seventy-one chapters. It is our celebration of growth, having begun with 6 members in 1983. Over twenty-five members have TBI. We initiated the first published correlational study associating running/exercising with cognitive improvement. Trisha Meili is one of the co-authors.

What we are doing is focusing on mainstreaming, the group as a force of motivation, goal-setting and achievement. It is my belief that the group, which we consider a micro-community, is the most powerful tool anywhere to motivate. As people achieve, the next thought is, “What’s my next goal”? In addition, our disabled athletes, completing marathons have an additional advantage...they wear a halo! People see them not as a person with a disability, but as someone akin to Horatio Alger...a hero.

As we celebrate our 35th Anniversary, I have had the privilege to describe this process in our book “The Courage to Go Forward”. I hope you get the chance to read it. #GoAchilles!

Dick Traum, Ph. D.
President, Achilles


In conjunction with our premium apparel partner Champion System, a worldwide leader in custom technical apparel, new pieces and Achilles classics are now available for purchase here.


Don't forget, if you shop at Amazon please shop at When you shop here, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice. Be sure to select Achilles! This can generate a lot of money if we can make it a simple habit for 10,000 people on our contacts + thousands of others in our personal social media contacts. Thank you!


More than 100 Achilles athletes will cross finish lines in four marathons in five weeks! We have strong rosters in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon (Oct 7th), The Detroit Free Press Marathon (Oct 21st), The Marine Corps Marathon (Oct 28th) and the TCS New York City Marathon (Nov 4th). If you're in any of those towns, come and cheer us on. If you are on social media, help to pump our athletes up with some love and encouragement: 

· #GoAchilles
· #AchillesFreedomTeam
· #Alwaysconquering 

If you are joining us for any of the four marathon weekends---we cannot wait to have epic experiences with you and witness your glory and the power of the Achilles spirit!!!


It’s always a good time to note some of our major sponsors during the start of our marathon season! Big thanks to The Moody Endowment, Michelob ULTRA, the GM Military Discount, DAV Charitable Service Trust, The Union League Club, and The Altschul Foundation for supporting our athletes and our programs this Fall.


Sunday September 9th was a dreary, rainy day. A perfect day to stay inside - perhaps with a good book or video. BUT NOT FOR ACHILLES KIDS! The rain didn’t damper their spirit one bit! Over 25 Achilles Kids members and their dedicated guides (who also could’ve been sleeping in!) - stepped up to the starting line near the metropolitan museum and CHARGED down 5th Avenue with such joy and determination! An AMAZING day! Diego led the pack with an astounding time of 6 minutes and 32 seconds with Noah, Julian, Christine and John not far behind, followed by the rest of our amazing Achilles Kids runners! We are SO VERY PROUD of all of you!

The sun came out the following weekend when we held our Volunteer Appreciation Day brunch at our Central Park workout. Thanks to our wonderful families who donated an awesome array of yummy goodies coupled with the outstanding planning and organizing efforts of our three AMAZING volunteer leaders - Angie Bullaro, Carolyn Wynne and Theresa Molloy - we put on one incredible spread! With bagels (plus all the extras), donuts, cookies, coffee, (regular AND Irish!) hot chocolate, orange juice (AND mimosas!) It was a fabulous celebration of all the caring, dedicated, devoted and fun folks who so freely give of their time and energy to help our kids reach the finish line!

This fall we have two more very exciting races coming up for our Achilles Kids. The Terry Fox 5K Run on October 13th and the Dash to the Finish 5K on November 3rd! Look out for our awesome athletes - they are on the MOVE!

Our school program is also on the move! We are thrilled to have added schools in 11 new towns in Maryland, as well as several more in NYC, upstate NY, Massachusetts, Ohio and Pennsylvania! What a FANTASTIC way to kick off our program - Achilles Kids 25th year!

Achilles Kids charging down 5th Ave at the NYRR New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile.

Achilles Kids charging down 5th Ave at the NYRR New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile.


Ricardo Corral has won the 5th Avenue Mile race 15 times!! This year, he was awarded a Proclamation from the Mayor of the City of New York for helping the community and athletes on behalf of Achilles International NY and Ecuador. Well done, Ricardo! We are so proud of you!



Join us on Thursday, October 4th for an evening of cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and celebration of the Achilles community as we gear up for the fall race season! Meet incredible athletes and guides and learn how you can support Achilles. Please click here to purchase your ticket! Casual Cocktail Attire. 

Event Details! Thursday, October 4th 7:00 P.M - 10:00 P.M. 
The Park 118 10th Avenue (btn 17th and 18th Street) New York, NY 10011 


We are proud to partner once again with Arch Global Advisors for the Third Annual Day of Golf to Benefit Achilles International on Wednesday, October 3rd at Anglebrook Golf Club in Lincolndale NY. The festivities kick off at 9:30 a.m. for breakfast and registration followed by an 11:00 a.m. Shotgun Start! The day concludes with cocktails and a 5:00 p.m. dinner and awards ceremony featuring remarks by Achilles athletes. All proceeds from the event will go to benefit the New York City Chapter of Achilles International.


On Thursday November 1st, join us as we celebrate the "Remarkable Women of Achilles". Honoring Achilles Athlete, Minda Dentler, Co-Host of The View, Meghan McCain and TD Bank Executive, Tyrrell Schmidt on November 1st at the Union League Club, NYC. Auction and Cocktails at 6pm. Dinner at 7pm. Business Attire. Here is the link to purchase tickets.

ACHILLES AWARDS DINNER sponsored by GM Military Discount

Friday, November 2nd 6 pm to 9 pm @ The Hotel Pennsylvania, 401 7th Avenue between West 31st and 32nd Street, Penn Top Ballroom, 18th floor. This dinner is for all Achilles athletes participating in the 2018 TCS NYC Marathon, their Guides and Marathon Charity Entrants. Suggested donation of $40 for each guest that is not an official athlete or guide - donate online.


Patti joined Achilles in 2017 and hasn’t stopped since! She ran the TCS New York City Marathon the same year, guiding “The Ultimate Running Machine”, John Pierre and has remained an active volunteer ever since. Thank you, Patti, for everything you do for Achilles.

“I know some people worry about commitment or are intimidated by what they imagine guiding will be like. I would want them to know that all they have to do is show up with their personality and their talents and join a family that will appreciate them!” – Patti Patrissi

To nominate someone as Volunteer of the Month, please email FIONA

How and when did you first hear about Achilles?

I first heard of Achilles when I started running races. I would see the athletes with their guides. It was always inspiring, and hearing everyone calling out to cheer Achilles, reinforcing what the running community is really about. That has always been a favorite part of races for me.

When did you first become a volunteer/guide?

I became a guide in July of 2017.

What has that experience been like for you?

It has been incredible! I tell everyone that they should consider volunteering for Achilles. You meet the best people, get to run with inspiring athletes, and get to share something really meaningful. 

Describe one or two special memories being an Achilles volunteer/guide.

Last season, John Pierre (“JP”) - the Ultimate Running Machine - went through a deep personal loss. The way his Achilles family came together to support him is something I will never forget. So many people went above and beyond for him. Finding so many people with such heart and caring is really special.

Please name one or two athletes you have guided.

I guided JP, the Ultimate Running Machine, for the NYC marathon in 2017.

Is there anything you would like to bring to the public's attention about being an Achilles Guide?

I am someone who enjoys running on a team and that is what being an Achilles guide is - a team. I know some people worry about commitment or are intimidated by what they imagine guiding will be like. I would want them to know that all they have to do is show up with their personality and their talents and join a family that will appreciate them!

Mention a little about your background.

I grew up in Canarsie, Brooklyn, and moved to Staten Island when I was in high school. I was not a runner growing up, I didn't do anything remotely athletic! I am a high school librarian. I guess my other interest is learning, because I just started my third Master's program.  

Anything else you might like to add?

I am so honored that JP nominated me. =)


Achilles Connecticut
- on October 13th Achilles CT has a team of 75 in the Eversource Hartford Marathon, Half and 5K, including Romel Palis from New York City and Cathy Beaudoin from California. For the fifth year in a row, Achilles CT is an Official Charity Partner, this year at the Gold Tier level.

Jillian Harpin, from Wolcott CT, was in the September 10 issue of People Magazine!!  

The Achilles Los Angeles Chapter
meets weekly on Sundays at 9 am along the Santa Monica coast. Here are photos from the chapter's participation in the Santa Monica Classic last month.

Achilles Madison Wisconsin
Chapter recently celebrated 13 years together.

The Madison Chapter's end of summer picnic at Garner Park - a great group of folks, yummy food, beautiful weather - can't ask for more.

Achilles will be welcoming athletes from various U.S. chapters to do the TCS New York City Marathon: Connecticut, Boston, Nashville, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Greater Phoenix. Two visually-impaired athletes from our Charlotte North Carolina chapter - Eric Strong and Joe Sheerer - will be doing the Charlotte Marathon on Saturday November 3rd and New York Marathon on Sunday November 4th!

2018-10 Chapter Collage.jpg


October 4th - The Inaugural Achilles Fall Cocktail Party

October 7th Bank of America Chicago Marathon

October 13th - The Terry Fox 5K Run

October 21st - The Detroit Free Press Marathon

October 28th - The Marine Corps Marathon

November 1stAchilles Annual Gala

November 2ndAchilles Annual Awards Dinner @ The Hotel Pennsylvania

November 3rd – Abbott Dash to the Finish 5K

November 4thTCS New York City Marathon

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