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!

!!YES Volunteer Appreciation cropped final.jpg


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!