A Two-Way Street
Volunteers are an important part of the Achilles community and take on numerous roles, such as:
- Helping disabled runners become familiar and proficient with special equipment
- Participating in weekly or bi-weekly workouts
- Providing guidance and running advice during races and marathon
- Helping out with race-day logistics.
While their general role is to accompany disabled runners during the course of a workout or race, on any given day an Achilles volunteer will function as a member’s eyes, ears, guide, and motivator. But ask any Achilles volunteer why they do it, and you’ll hear the same answer, over and over: they get back as much as they give, and more.
"Walking as a Volunteer with Achilles makes you a better person. The first time I walked with a visually impaired athlete during the Achilles Marathon in Prospect Park, she was able to tell me about the areas we were walking by. The birds and the open fields. I had the vision but missed what she heard by walking with me. I have learned to take better notice of the beauty in everyday life. We learn that you can accomplish whatever you want, there are only abilities no disabilities in life you just have to take advantage of them." - Achilles Volunteer
How to Volunteer
To become an Achilles volunteer you must complete a volunteer application form. Download a pdf of the paper form below and fax or mail it to us.
42 West 38th Street
*NYC VOLUNTEERS! Please click here to find out about all the local Achilles workouts and events!
This form is a General Volunteer Form. It is NOT a valid application for the ING NYC Marathon.
VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH
Achilles has some of the most amazing volunteers, many of whom have been with us for years! We want to recognize them here every month. To nominate someone, please email Fiona.
This month, we highlight volunteer Brianna Nielsen!
How and when did you first hear about Achilles?
I first heard about Achilles when exploring volunteer opportunities through New York Cares – it ended up being a great fit.
When did you first become a volunteer?
My first day as a volunteer guide was in March of 2016.
What has that experience been like for you?
Volunteering with Achilles has been amazing! Achilles has provided me with a sense of community. I have always considered myself active, but through observing the accomplishments of Achilles athletes, I received the extra push needed to finally sign up for my first half-marathon - the Brooklyn Half in May. Through Achilles, I have also become close with many people from different backgrounds I probably would not have otherwise encountered. The weekly brunches after Saturday workouts and the live music nights with Tom DeRosa’s band have become special events I look forward to.
Describe one or two special memories being an Achilles volunteer.
One of my favorite Achilles memories was the Reindeer Run in December 2016. It was a particularly cold day with significant amount of snow/slush on the ground. But, the excitement of the group gathered together for a holiday-themed workout led to one of the best runs I’ve had with my favorite Achilles running partner, Casey (and his fastest time!). Another special Achilles-inspired memory came in the form of a shopping trip to prepare an athlete for the NYRR Club Night. We went to pick out a new outfit for her to wear to the event and ended the evening with a pizza dinner.
Please name one or two Achilles athletes you have guided.
I almost always run with Casey – he asked me to run with him on my first day at Achilles and we’ve been running together ever since.
Is there anything you would like to bring to the public's attention about being a guide for Achilles?
One thing I have found to be interesting is how each athlete responds to different styles of encouragement. Certain athletes know what they are capable of and are able to identify their own limits; some need to be pushed and actively motivated in order to reach their potential, and others respond best when the pressure is removed completely and they are given the opportunity to make decisions on their own. Every athlete is different and in my opinion there is no “best” way to be a guide. It seems the path to success comes from consistency and unconditional support.
Mention a little bit about your background.
I am originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia. I moved to New York almost five years ago after graduating from Virginia Tech. I work in recruitment at an investment bank and love cooking, traveling, live music and yoga.