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!

A MESSAGE FROM OUR PRESIDENT

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!

Dick

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 https://smile.amazon.com. 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!

LAKIN CHALLENGE

'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!

ACHILLES 28TH ANNUAL GALA –
CELEBRATING REMARKABLE WOMEN OF ACHILLES

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”.

2018-12 GALA Pix 300 dpi.jpg

BIG THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS

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

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

ACHILLES FREEDOM TEAM MARATHON TOUR 2018

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!

FREEDOM TEAM TRIBUTE TO SENATOR JOHN McCAIN

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!

ACHILLES AWARDS/PASTA DINNER

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

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

2018-12 Las Vegas2.jpg

ACHILLES NASHVILLE

“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.

2018-12 NASHVILLE.jpg

2019 CHARITY SLOTS: GUARANTEED ENTRIES WITH ACHILLES

UNITED AIRLINES NYC HALF MARATHON CHARITY BIBS

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.

2019 TCS NEW YORK CITY MARATHON

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.

VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH: JOE SORBANELLI

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

2018-12 CT Collage Eversource and Pantry 5K.jpg

ACHILLES CONNECTICUT  

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.